Essay Example on Revenge in Hamlet

Published: 2021-06-25
510 words
2 pages
5 min to read
George Washington University
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Revenge is the act of responding to action from another person in a manner that is usually harmful to the recipient.

1.2 Background

Revenge directed to a second person could come in direct or indirect form. It could also be verbal on non-verbal depending on the intention of the avenger.

In contemporary settings, revenge happens in international politics, organizations, businesses, and tribal conflicts. For instance, one party in communal crashes may revenge directly by attacking rival community members and killing them.

In the above case, an indirect form of revenge may be closing a trade route or scorching grazing fields. These are some of the examples that literature explores.

1.3 Revenge in Hamlet

In Shakespeares Hamlet, the theme of revenge comes out as the central idea that the playwright wanted to convey.

The background of the play sets the stage for revenge and notifies the reader of the past events that result in the instigation of the first revenge attempt.

The desire for revenge in the play kicks off a vicious stream of events that turn tragic in the end.

1.4 Limits of the topic

Instances of revenge in the play

Characters engaged in revenge

How each character is injected into the revenge trail

How the sequence of vengeful acts in the play

The role of the guards in the revenge trail

Negative impacts of revenge on the plot and characters

Death in the royal family

Collateral damage




Rosencrantz and


Fall of the Elsinore Kingdom in Denmark

Kingdom takeover by neighbors

1.5 Thesis Statement

Death is the most tragic outcome of revenge in Hamlet, although family divisions, the fall of a kingdom, and unwarranted collateral damage also result from the revenge that is sparked by the appearance of dead kings ghost

2.0 Outline

2.1 Plot overview

King Hamlet's ghost appears to two guards manning the Castle

The guards decipher that the ghost resembles the late King Hamlet. The guards break the news to Prince Hamlet

The ghost informs Prince Hamlet that his uncle, the sitting King Claudius killed him in desire for the throne

Prince Hamlet contemplates revenge but accidentally kills Polonius instead of King Claudius

The king banishes Hamlet to England to be killed

Hamlet returns halfway to Denmark and engages in a duet with Laertes, who wishes to revenge for the death of his sister and father

Queen Gertrude drinks from a goblet that Claudius had poisoned for Hamlet and dies

Laertes and Claudius die from a blade that was laced with poison.

Hamlet dies due to an injury inflicted by the same blade

2.2 Death









2.3 Family breakdown

Polonius and his two children (Ophelia and Laertes)

Polonius was mistaken for Claudius and killed by Hamlet

Ophelia commits suicide from depression caused by his father's death

Laertes killed in a duet by Hamlet

Claudius and his family

Gertrude his wife and Hamlet his stepson

3.0 Critical Analysis

According to Shakespeare, death in the play was not a direct consequence of revenge but rather an accident from the attempted revenge

4.0 Conclusion

Revenge can directly or indirectly lead to death and the breakdown of families divided over the desire to avenge the historical injustices.

Revenge in Hamlet sets off a chain of events that could be prevented if Hamlet did not seek revenge for his father's death.


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