Revenge is an action which causes people to act blindly and without much reason. It can be defined as, the act of taking vengeance for injuries or wrongs (www.thefreedictionary.com). In William Shakespeares famous play Hamlet, the tragic hero of the play whom the play is titled after, plans revenge on his uncle, King Claudius, so that he could avenge his fathers death. The thought of revenge is on Hamlets mind throughout the majority of the play. As a result, he soon loses himself and his beliefs, as well as the people that he holds dear. Additionally, revenge becomes the reason for Hamlets selfishness and eventually the cause of his death, as well as the deaths of others around him. Often, Revenge should have no bounds (IV.vii.141) as it can take over ones thoughts and can cause negative personality and life changes as it did with Hamlet.
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When Hamlet lets revenge become his priority, he easily loses himself, and his values. Throughout the play, Hamlet acts crazy in order to hide his plans to kill King Claudius. He loses himself in the act when he insults Ophelia by saying To a nunnery, go, and quickly too (III.i.151). Hamlet is acting crazy and does not make much sense to Ophelia in this scene. Through insulting her, he is moving away from her in their relationship. This means that he has pushed his feelings and values aside in order to pursue the path of revenge. In addition to losing his values, revenge causes Hamlet to begin to lose his morals as well. On a plain in Denmark, Hamlet states in his soliloquy, O, from this time forth / My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth! (IV.iv.67). Hamlet allows his obsession with revenge to take over his mind, pushing away his thoughts about life and death, along with his beliefs and feelings. Revenge causes Hamlet to act irrationally, and forget about his values. Without Ophelia, Hamlet becomes miserable. Without his usual thoughts, he is not himself. As a result, his life becomes unhappier.
Selfishness is one of the outcomes of revenge. On many occasions, Hamlet speaks daggers (III.ii.389) to his mother. He verbally abuses her when he says to her, You are the Queen, your husbands brothers wife, / And, would it were not so, you are my mother (III.iv.18). When the Queen asks Hamlet What have I done, that thou darest wag thy tongue / In noise so rude against me? (III.iv.46), Hamlet further insults her by replying:
Such an act / That blurs the glance and blush of modesty, / Calls virtue hypocrite, takes
off the rose / From the fair forehead of an innocent love, / And sets a blister there, makes
marriage vows / As false as dicers oaths (III.iv.48).
After finding out the truth of his fathers death, Hamlet starts seeing King Claudius as an even greater enemy. Furthermore, he also begins to associate his mother with the murder. As a result, he starts being more aggressive with the Queen, verbally attacking her whenever he gets the opportunity. Through his actions, Hamlet displays selfishness since he is not thinking about his mothers feelings but only of his own. Hamlet demonstrates selfishness again during Ophelias funeral, when he informs Laertes, I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers / Could not with all their quantity of love / Make up my sum (V.i.280). Since Hamlet is failing to realize how much Laertes loved his sister, he is being selfish for believing that his love for Ophelia was greater than Laertes love. Revenge causes Hamlet to act selfish. This has a negative effect on Hamlets life because it causes others to change their views of him.
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While perusing his path to revenge, Hamlet further ruins his life by causing an end to the lives of those around him, and eventually his own. Hamlet lies to Ophelia by saying, I loved you not(III.i.129). Ophelia is led to believe that she was never loved. This hurts Ophelia and is one of the causes for her insanity and ultimately her death. Revenge is also the cause of Polonius death. When Hamlet hears Polonius who is hiding behind the curtains, he mistakes him for King Claudius, and kills him. This action complicates Hamlets life even more since now he feels guilt. When Hamlet sets up a play that resembles his fathers murder, he scares King Claudius. This becomes the cause of Hamlets death. Claudius tells Laertes Or with a little shuffling, you may choose / A sword unbated, and in pass of practice / Requite him for your father (IV.vii.150). Claudius encourages and helps Laertes kill Hamlet. The two plan a sword fight where Hamlet is eventually poisoned. Hamlets plans for revenge lead to many deaths as well as his own.
King Claudius says, Revenge should have no bounds (IV.vii.141). In William Shakespeares play Hamlet, revenge is the main cause of the protagonists collapse. Revenge leads Hamlet to act unreasonably, and causes him to become selfish. Revenge ruins Hamlets life before finally taking it away. Furthermore, it is the main cause of many characters deaths within the play. Revenge never has a positive outcome, as it usually leads to a persons downfall. Nonetheless, individuals fail to realize this as they blindly pursue their vengeance.
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