Critical Essays On Hamlets Revenge

English Literary Renaissance


Current issues are available on the Chicago Journals website: Read the latest issue.English Literary Renaissance is a journal devoted to current criticism and scholarship of Tudor and early Stuart English literature, 1485-1665, including Shakespeare, Spenser, Donne, and Milton. It is unique in featuring the publication of rare texts and newly discovered manuscripts of the period and current annotated bibliographies of work in the field. It is illustrated with contemporary woodcuts and engravings of Renaissance England and Europe.

Coverage: 1971-2012 (Vol. 1, No. 1 - Vol. 42, No. 3)

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ISSN: 00138312

EISSN: 14756757

Subjects: Language & Literature, Humanities

Collections: Arts & Sciences XIII Collection

The Theme of Revenge in "Hamlet" Essay example

932 Words4 Pages

Revenge is a recurring theme in Hamlet. Although Hamlet wants to avenge his father’s death, he is afraid of what would result from this. In the play Hamlet, Hamlet’s unwillingness to revenge appears throughout the text; Shakespeare exhibits this through Hamlet’s realization that revenge is not the right option, Hamlet‘s realization that revenge is the same as the crime which was already committed, and his understanding that to revenge is to become a “beast” and to not revenge is as well (Kastan 1). According to David Scott Kastan in “Hamlet and the Imitation of Revenge” Hamlet is concerned that he will leave a “wounded name” behind (1). What Hamlet fails to realize is that his name is already “wounded” because his father was murdered.…show more content…

The revenger is not allowed to develop a plan of action and is only allowed to re-enact the original crime (Kastan 2). As Kastan acknowledges, “Hamlet’s delay may be understood as his resistance to accept his imitative relation” (2). This means that although Hamlet wants to avenge his father’s death, he realizes it is not the right thing to do. It is only when Hamlet assures himself that revenge is “a mode of restoration rather than reprisal” that he can try to execute his plan, still acknowledging the inescapable relation he would have as a villain and avenger (Kastan 2). Hamlet ultimately believes that to revenge is to become a “beast” but to not revenge is also to be a “beast” (Kastan 3). According to Kastan, “Hamlet is prevented from enacting his revenge by the discomforting ratios that his literary imitations generate” (4). He is also stopped from executing his revenge because of his inability to separate himself from his father, to be different from what generated him (Kastan 4). By this point, Hamlet is no longer caught between whether to avenge his father or not, it is that he no longer realizes whether he is doing this for his father or for himself. When Hamlet finally does kill Claudius, he does it to avenge not his father, but himself (Kastan 4). “Hamlet dies with no word of the father he has sworn to remember” writes David Scott Kastan, “The act he finally

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