Hamlet by Shakespeare
In the play, Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, much hatred exists among the characters, which leads to revenge between Hamlet, Claudius, and Laertes, because revenge is a way to eliminate anger towards particular people and to gain justice. However, none of the characters obtain what they originally desired through revenge, but rather earn only pain and regrets.
Revenge is not a solution to relieve fury and dissatisfaction, but rather a generator of tremendous sorrow and endless pain to others. These negative feelings eventually turn back onto the one seeking revenge; consequently, a vicious cycle is completed. In order to get revenge against Claudius for the murder of his father, Hamlet blames his mother for marrying the killer and reveals her sins. However, Hamlet’s words are overwhelming to her, and she shouts, “Thou turn’st mine eyes into my very soul, / And there I see such black and grained spots / As Will not leave their tinct” (3.4.
81-83). Gertrude looks at who she really is and realizes how huge and immoral her mistake is. She condemns herself and cannot even face herself for the “black and grained spots” marked on her soul. Here, Hamlet instigates a painful self-reflective process for his mother. Unfortunately, Gertrude is not the only victim in the cycle of revenge. Hamlet accidentally kills Polonius, thinking he killed Claudius.
Polonius’s death is a trigger and connection to more revenge and torment. Ophelia goes insane rather than face the reality of her father’s death. Horatio says of her, “She speaks much of her father, says she hears / There’s tricks i’th’ world, and hems, and beats her hearts, / Spurns enviously at straw, speaks things in doubt” (4.5.4-6). Ophelia loses her faith for life and starts hurting herself.
Polonius controlled every aspect of Ophelia’s life, but he is killed by Hamlet’s hatred of Claudius. Laertes, as a son and a brother, avenges his father and sister by poisoning Hamlet while they duel. Consequently, Hamlet’s revenge leads to his own death, and Hamlet is finally aware of his mistake: “The foul practice / Hath turned itself on me. Lo, here I lie, / Never to rise again” (5.2.271-273).
Laertes’s revenge first completes the circle generated by his desire for revenge. As he seeks justice and an explanation for his father and sister by seeking revenge on Hamlet, he is eventually poisoned by the sword he uses against Hamlet. Claudius also experiences the exact same fate, because Hamlet proceeds enact his revenge upon Claudius, after it is revealed that Claudius was intent on murder, too: “Here, thou incestuous, murd’rous, damned Dane, / Drink off this potion. / (He forces Claudius to drink) / Is thy union here? / Follow my mother. / (Claudius dies)” (5.2.
275-279). Claudius is dead because of his own attempt to gain peace and safety. Finally, the end of these series of revenge plots is not surprising at all, because everyone who seeks revenge suffers the same result of death: “The potent poison quite o’ercrows my spirit” (5.2.306). Hamlet’s death makes the circle of victims whole.
With a motivation to eliminate his indignation, he loses his life, his country, and nearly his reputation. Revenge, a popular method to release passive emotions, is revealed to be a most fatal weapon.