The Theme of Revenge in Hamlet by Shakespeare: Critical Essay

Paper Type:  Literature review
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  630 Words
Date:  2022-02-12


William Shakespeare is an English writer, poet, and actor who has done many great works of art. In his works of art, he has received a fair share of praises and criticism. In his work Hamlet, he presents a tragedy of Hamlet when Hamlet is summoned from school to come and attend his father's funeral. On developing the theme, he uses the choices that characters make to establish the central theme of revenge. The article also examines how he uses characters and the choices they make to improve the theme further (Shakespeare, Brilliance Audio, 12).

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Hamlet comes home to his father's funeral and is surprised to find out that his Uncle Claudius has crowned himself king and his mother Gertrude married to Claudius; he considers this as incest. Hamlet becomes suspicious that there is something that is not right, his suspicions are confirmed when his father's Ghost appears in the castle and asks Hamlet to avenge his death. The decision by Claudius to kill his brother Hamlet Senior has precipitated the need for revenge. (Shakespeare, 132)

In further developing the theme of revenge, Hamlet chooses by putting on a mask; he pretends to be mad to hide his true intentions of revenging his father's death from Claudius. In the attempt to revenge his father's death Hamlet, unfortunately, kills the ease dropping Polonius in his mother's chambers mistaking him for Claudius. This choice further develops the theme of revenge as Claudius is awoken to the true intentions of Hamlet he decides to revenge this by exiling Hamlet to England, Claudius sends Hamlet's two friends to accompany him with the purpose of betraying him to the king of England so that the king will execute Hamlet.

Guildenstern and Rosencrantz decision to betray their friend Hamlet further develop the theme of revenge as Hamlet is furious at their betrayal and he avenges by setting them up for hanging. Ophelia is frustrated with Hamlets behavior, and she becomes emotionally devastated because of her love for him, her troubles are also intensified by the death of his father, Polonius. Ophelia drowns due to this and dies. Ophelia's brother Laertes comes home from school to attend the funeral, he discovers Hamlet's involvement with Ophelia, and he was also responsible for his father's death. To revenge their deaths Laertes plots with King Claudius to kill Hamlet in a fight (Ramsay, 23)

In their plot to kill Hamlet, Laerte's sword is poisoned so that when it cuts Hamlet he is poisoned and he dies. The Uncle Claudius also poisons Hamlets drinks but this unfortunately backfires, and Hamlet's mother drinks the poisoned drink meant for his son. During the fight after both Hamlet and Laertes are cut with the poisoned sword, and their deaths are inevitable, Laeters opens up to Hamlet and tells him of the arrangement they had with Claudius. Hamlet is furious, and he decides to execute his revenge on Claudius for murdering his father, for the death of his mother and for the plot to kill him. He kills Claudius and makes him drink the remaining poisoned drink.


The theme of revenge gives as lessons that revenge is not justice, that forgiveness is the best way to deal with betrayal and that proper channels should be followed in case one needs justice in our daily lives (Bradley, 42).

In conclusion, the path to revenge is dangerous. All individuals in Hamlet who wanted revenge ended up miserable

Works Cited

Shakespear, W., Brilliance Audio (Film), & L.A Theater Works. (2016). Hamlet. Oxford:

Oxford Univerity Press.

Shakespeare, W., Ramsay B., Gould, J., Gilchris, L., Wingfield P., Barber, G., Fraser D., Hamletproductions. (2014). Hamlet

Bradley, A. C. (2014). Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othelo, King Lear, andMacbeth.

Shakespeare, W., Dickinson, D., Oliver, l., Laurence Olivier, Eileen Herlie, Norman Wooland,Felix Aylmer. (2015). Hamlet. Atlantic Film

Cite this page

The Theme of Revenge in Hamlet by Shakespeare: Critical Essay. (2022, Feb 12). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism