Revenge as the Driving Force of Hamlet

The act of revenge never fails to gather an audience, due to the simple fact that revenge raises one of the great questions in regards to human life: how does one seek justice when the law ceases to function properly? William Shakespeare tapped into the human fascination for the act of revenge, and produced a play which has revenge as its predominant motif. Hamlet has not one, but three revenge plots; each interrelated in a most mesmerizing manner. In the play, young Fortinbras, young Hamlet, and Laertes all act to avenge their slain fathers. The first plot is because of the slaying of King Fortinbras of Norway by King Hamlet of Denmark; "...our valiant Hamlet - for so this side of our known world esteem'd him - did slay this Fortinbras" (1.1.96-98). As a result, Fortinbras seeks revenge against Denmark. Hamlet wants revenge for the murder of his father by Claudius, Hamlet's uncle. The final revenge plot involves Laertes getting revenge against Hamlet for the death of Laertes' father, Polonius. In Hamlet, Shakespeare uses revenge as the major force that drives the play, and shows that revenge taken rashly rather than through reason leads to downfall.

All acts of revenge have four steps. The first step of...

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