Shakespeare’s Tragedy

Hamlet is well notable as a revenge tragedy genre because of the way it deepens the psychology of the models involved and complicates the themes. The tragedy of Hamlet who was the prince of Denmark is the tragedy that is believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601 by William Shakespeare. The play was set in Denmark and it recounts on how this Prince Hamlet is able to exact revenge on his uncle Claudius. This uncle is believed to have killed Hamlet’s father. The straightforward duty of revenge for the Prince Hamlet is both morally and factually ambiguous. It has thematic conflict between the Christian values of acceptance and humility on one hand, and the Roman values of blood-right and martial valor on the other (Levenson 450).  

Hamlet is a remarkable revenge play because although there are no shown characters who debate on the morality of demanding revenge, the whole play from the beginning to the end sets up a discussion on the revenge issue. Shakespeare makes us to wonder whether exacting vengeance on the murderers of a relative by the relatives of the murdered person is the correct course of action. Shakespeare makes us well aware of the notion of taking actions and acting by giving u people who don’t act or who act in the sense of doing things positively and those who act and pretend to be what they are not and these include a group of players who were travelling (Kilroy 194).

Hamlet can be referred to as a serial killer because he kills a higher percentage of the speaking cast list, either indirectly or directly using his own hands. His first victims were the entire family of Polonius. He tarts by killing Polonius though he claimed that it was a mistaken identity. This tragedy was not acceptable in a court of law and could not be taken as the excuse for killing somebody. Hamlet also causes the death of Ophelia indirectly but he carried the whole moral responsibility of the murder. Hamlet also killed Laertes with his own hands (Graham and Brian, 300).

Hamlet engineers the death of his two fellow-students, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz. He did not do it with his own hands but he arranges and wills their deaths without even minding or checking whether or not they were aware of the plot of Claudius to kill him. Hamlet also kills Claudius both deliberately and with his own hands. He had murdered his father who would be the rightful king because Denmark was an elective monarchy. The killing is a regicide that was of full-scale because he would have stepped in between the hopes of Hamlet and the election (5.2.66). The deaths in this play are seen and viewed as tragedy.

Shakespeare also includes other young men who have different attitudes toward revenge. The father to Fortinbras was murdered in a duel by the father to Hamlet. The uncle to Fortinbras started ruling Norway that was his country. Fortinbras starts with the intentions of taking revenge but is persuaded otherwise. Laertes is a young Dane and by the time the play is halfway, he is a victim of tragedy through the death of his father who had been murdered ironically by Hamlet. Hamlet is therefore a murderer on whom vengeance would be taken against and as well was seeking revenge for the death of his own father. Laertes had no doubt that he was supposed to take vengeance against Hamlet even though it called for him to cut his throat during the church services (Kilroy 200).

Hamlet however delays the revenge on Claudius after he knows the murderer of the Old Hamlet but it is shown throughout the play that Hamlet was a thinker rather than a man of action unlike Laertes and Fortinbras. Through the use of seven soliloquies by Shakespeare, we find out that Hamlet was a thinker from the way he discusses the situations, beliefs, attitudes and feelings. However in the last Act we find a more determined and changed Hamlet and apparently there are no soliloquies. The religious beliefs of Hamlet could have led to the delayed revenge. He believed strongly in God, His laws and justice shown by God unlike Laertes (Levenson 480). He believed that it would be sinful and when he heard the story of the Ghosts he ask himself whether revenge was acceptable. At the end, he concludes that there are two evils that would be involved and chose the one that was greater. The greater therefore was to leave such a man a Claudius living and he would continue to extend his acts of wickedness and therefore the step of vengeance was now taken into consideration by Hamlet.

The Oedipus complex could also have led to the delay of the revenge tragedy. The feelings of Hamlet towards Gertrude were more than those of a lover than those of a son. He is more concerned with his mother’s remarriage than about the murder of the father. The Oedipus complex is the psychological state of the sexual attraction for a mother and this was the case for Hamlet (Kilroy 230). Finally however Hamlet stabs Claudius after he had heard that his mother, Gertrude was poisoned and was dying. The revenge tragedy therefore was mostly because of the mother other than the death of the Old Hamlet.

Clearly we are given a contrasting view of the power that there is in forgiveness by Claudius. Rene Girard however maintains that Hamlet belonged to the Revenge Tragedy genre.