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Joe Devine

Mrs. Carter
AP Literature
February 8th, 2015
Hamlet: The Vengeful Son
InShakespearesHamlet the stories main character, Hamlet, is incredibly volatile
and unpredictable character. Throughout the play he is characterized as revenger,
depressed and even a bit as an Oedipal Son. Yet it is the revenger view of Hamlet that
truly is the essence of his character. Hamletsutterobsessionwithfindinghisfathers
killer, and his total disregard for anyone else who stood in his way, can be characterized
as his need for vengeance.
In Hamlet, Hamlet is visited by what is believed to be the ghost of his father. The
ghost tell Hamlet that the king was murdered by Claudius so he could take the throne
and the Queen as his wife. And therefore as astrangergiveitwelcomeSo grace and
mercyatyourmostneedhelpyou(H II.i.). Here Hamlet is trying to make sure Horatio
wonttellanyonewhattheghostsaidorthatheevenwashere.Hamletdoesntwantto
risk the fact that someone might call him out and saw that the conveniently placed
ghostwasntreal. The ghost however really may not be real, the way the ghost acts
mayshowthathedidntexistatallandwassimplyafigmentofHamletsimagination.
Hamlet already had ill feelings towards Claudius due to how quickly he grieved over his
dead father, now conveniently an apparition is telling Hamlet that Claudius is to blame.
NowwhileHamletwasnttheonlyonetoseetheapparitionhewastheonlyonetotalk

to it, which provides further evidencethatitmaysimplybeafigmentofHamletscrazed


imagination. Hamlet wanted an excuse to take out his aggression and avenge his father
andifaghostsohappenedtotellhimitwasClaudiusfaultthensobeit.
Yet even simply killing Claudius wasntenough;Hamletwantedtogoeven
further, he wanted to humiliate Claudius. Now might I do it pat notrevenge(H III.
Iii),whencontemplatingkillingClaudius,Hamletsimplycouldntkillhimwhilehewas
prayingbecausehecouldntriskClaudiusgoingtoheaven.ItsclearthatHamletwasnt
about simply taking out Claudius, it was about making him pay. Hamlet was so
consumedbyhisrevengethathecouldntevencompletethetaskat hand, which is kill
Claudius, he needed to ensure his trip to hell.
After choosing not to kill Claudius Hamlet fully succumbs to his rage and need for
revenge and begins to cut all ties with his friends and family members. At one point
Hamletwassoangrywithhismotherthathewasgoingtospeakdaggerstoherbutuse
none(H III.ii). basically attempting to hurt her as much as he can without physically
touching her. He then continues his rampage by severing all of his ties with Ophelia.
After killing her father, for being on the side of the king, he severs his relationship with
her and she then commits suicide. He was so consumed with attempting to get a full
vengeance for his father, that he hurt his relationship with his mother, murdered his
girlfriendsfather,andfinallydrovehisgirlfriendtosuicide.Hewassimplydrivenmad
for his revenge.
Hamlet was incredibly driven and while had a good cause, was blinded by relief
revenge might give him. He was willing to contort his beliefs and his life to fit the mold

where he could get revenge, even going to the point of severing all most all of his
existing relationships. Hamlets revenge in the end was his undoing and his final act as a
living person.