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Hamlet As a Revenge Tragedy

February 21, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 252

Shakespeare (1564-1616) is the greatest Elizabethan dramatist. He wrote tragedies and comedies of great height. In his hands, the Romantic dramas reached its peak. Hamlet responds to all the rules of revenge tragedy. The revenge tragedies were very popular in the Elizabethan and Jacobeans periods. The best known revenge tragedies are Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy and William Shakespeare's Hamlet. The Senecan model makes for a clear definition of revenge tragedies, covering the following inclusions:

i. A secret murder, usually of a benign ruler by a bad person. ii. A ghostly visitation of the murder victim to a younger kinsman, generally a son. iii. A period of disguise, intrigue, or plotting, in which the murderer and the avenger scheme against each other, with a slowly rising body count. iv. A descent into either real or feigned madness by the avenger or one of the auxiliary characters. v. An eruption of general violence at the end, which is often accomplished by means of a feigned masque or A catastrophe that utterly decimates the dramatis personae, including the avenger.

In the beginning of the drama, the prince Hamlet is found into great despondency because of the death of a benign ruler. Hamlet always called his father Hyperion. It was a secret murder, and all accepted it as a natural death. The fact was that he was killed by his bad brother Claudius who found him in rest and put poison into his ear that caused of his death. From Hamlet conversation, it proves that his father was great, and he loved too much to his mother, Gertrude. Despite it, she married Claudius, the murderer of the king.

The second rule of the revenge tragedy is the entry of a ghost. Its entry is supposed to be omen that is imminent in the kingdom. The ghost comes in to the form of the late king, the murdered king and the father of prince Hamlet. Hamlet always referred his father as a Greek god. The ghost discloses the secret that his father's death is not natural, but he is murdered by his brother Claudius. His death happened by putting poison into the ear. So, Claudius is the dirty and merciless murder of his brother. The ghost encourages Hamlet to murder his uncle in order to avenge father's death. The prince Hamlet is not hasty or light tempered as that he may take action without any deliberation. Hamlet knows that the entry of the supernatural element is supposed to be bad. He, first of all, wants to verify the truth and for it, he makes plan by staging a drama. So drama is within drama. When Hamlet condemns the queen for her sexual depravity, the ghost pursues him not to think badly for his mother because Heaven will deal with her actions. The conversation of ghost increases his hatred for his mother.

The other rule is that the avenger feigns to be insane to discover the truth, but in reality, he is not. When the ghost discloses the truth to him and gets promise from him to avenge of his father's death. It was a ground of great gloom for him, but despite it, he recovers himself and plans to be mad to discover the truth. He transfers such confidence to Horatio. He pursues his work like insane and at last he discovers the truth with the help of the characters.

If we review of the play, we see that his mother's hasty marriage to his uncle throws him into great despondency and obsession, where the world seems to be unprofitable and useless. Its main reason was his love to his mother and father and the remarks of the nation about his uncle as the great ruler. His behaviour towards the external world and the death of Polinus also threatened him to be mad. His friend Horatio, too, starts believing him to be insane. In such insanity of taking avenge of his father's death, he sacrifices his love and earns enmity. His soliloquies or other rough behaviours, sacrifice of love and impatience prove him to be insane because his mind was obsessed with the spirit of punishment or avenge. Despite such conditions, one can not deny from the reality that he was sane.

On this stage, Hamlet and Claudius both are engaged to make plans to discover the truth. It is truth that Hamlet is a wise and contemplative person. He makes plan to discover the truth about the murder of his father, and for it he stages a drama.So drama is within drama. He is under a great melancholy and tries to prove him mad. On the other side, Claudius calls his two friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to know the reason of his melancholy, but they fail to know. Hamlet calls them poisonous snakes because they are the spies of Claudius. Hamlet sets Horatio to watch Claudius carefully during the play in order to notice his intuition on it.When the murderer pours the poison into the sleeping king's ear, Claudius rises and cries out for light. Pandemonium spreads, and the play is suddenly stopped. The torches are lit, and the king leaves the room, followed by the audience. Hamlet and Horatio both agree his behaviour that he is murderer. Polinus works as a spy and hides himself behind the curtain to know his madness but he was murdered on the place of Claudius.Gretude wants to save her son, whereas Claudius shows greed for power and for its sake, he wants to send him to England. Hamlet agrees and goes with two poisonous snakes. Claudius wants his death because he is mad and will prove dangerous for him. Hamlet's ship was attacked by the pirates, and he was sent back. The king was informed about the return of the king. Laertes became very happy for avenging his father's murder upon Hamlet. Claudius makes a plan of duel between Hamlet and Laertes. Laertes proposes to poison his sword.

In the final scène, there is the eruption of violence between two parties, the king and Hamlet. The king's plan is to offer him poisoned cup before fighting duel, but Hamlet did not drink it, and started fight with Laertes. Laertes hits him a poisonous sword and the blood oozes. The swords are exchanged and Laertes, too, gets same fatal wound. Gertrude drank the poisoned water. She cried and died.Hamlet enforced the king to drink the rest of the poisoned wine. In last, the stage is covered with the death bodies of Gretudes, Laertes, Claudius and Hamlet, the avenger.

In last, it must be accepted that in this drama Hamlet, Fortinbras and Laertes (three families) all lose their fathers and want revenge. This drama answers of all questions which are backbone of the revenge tragedy. So, it is exactly a revenge tragedy and master piece work of William Shakespeare.

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Rules Of Revenge Tragedy


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