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Hamlet Essay, Research Paper

THESIS: In the play, ?Hamlet?, by William Shakespeare. the theme of this play is revenge.

William Shakespeare was born in April, 1564 in Stratford, Warwickshire, about 100 miles northwest of London. According to the records of Stratford’s Holy Trinity Church, he was baptized on April 26. Since it was customary to baptize infants within days of birth, and since Shakespeare died 52 years later on April 23, and–most significantly–since April 23 is St. George’s day, the patron saint of England, it has become traditional to assign the birth day of England’s most famous poet to April 23.

Shakespeare’s parents were John and Mary Shakespeare, who lived in Henley Street, Stratford. John, the son of Richard Shakespeare, was a whittawer (a maker, worker and seller of leather goods such as purses, belts and gloves) and a dealer in agricultural commodities. He was a solid, middle class citizen at the time of William’s birth, and a man on the rise. He served in Stratford government successively as a member of the Council (1557), constable (1558), chamberlain (1561), alderman (1565) and finally high bailiff (1568)–the equivalent of town mayor. About 1577 John Shakespeare’s fortunes began to decline for unknown reasons. There are records of debts. In 1586 he was replaced as alderman for slacking responsibilities, and in 1592 was reprimanded for not coming to church for fear of process of debt. Mary, the daughter of Robert Arden, had in all eight children with John Shakespeare. William was the third child and the first son.

Shakespeare attended the Stratford grammar school now known as The King?s New School. On November 28, 1582, the Bishop of Worcester issued the marriage bond for “William Shagspere” and “Ann Hathaway of Stratford.” On May 26, 1583, their first daughter Susanna was baptized. Two years later, twins were born, named Hamnet and Judith, named after Hamnet and Judith Sadler, apparently lifetime friends to Shakespeare.

Throughout his life, William Shakespeare has written many works that illustrated society and the psychological aspects of it. Examples of his works include ?Love?s Labours Lost? (1593), ?King John? (1596) and ?Romeo Juliet? (1595).

Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616 and was buried in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church April 25. On the slab over his grave appear the words:





This thesis statement is appealing because when I read the play it made me think about how people always use revenge for motivation to achieve their goals. Such as Hamlet when he used revenge to avenge his father?s death. I feel that revenge is a great motivation tool because for those people who feel that they need to avenge something, it can be a very self satisfying that they had fought for what was once lost.

Hamlet is often called an “Elizabethan revenge play.” All the action of Hamlet is based on the one task the ghost sets the prince: to avenge his father’s murder. This powerful demand is countered in Hamlet’s mind by three questions: Is revenge a good or an evil act? Is Claudius truly guilty and so to be punished? Is it Hamlet’s responsibility to punish him? Throughout the play Shakespeare raises questions about whether justice is to be left to the state or taken into one’s own hands, and about whether it is possible, in a cunning and deceitful world, to tell the good man from the criminal. These questions are focused on Hamlet, who must decide whether to avenge his father or not, and if so, how. They are reflected in the parallel stories of Fortinbras and Laertes, who also have obligations of revenge to fulfill. The Serpent that did sting thy father’s life Now wears his crown (I, v) The ghost of Hamlet’s father speaks these lines in explaining to Hamlet that Claudius murdered him, and that Hamlet must avenge his father’s death. These lines set the stage for the basic plot in the play.

To be, or not to be,–that is the question:–Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune Or to take arms against a sea of troubles … (III, i) The beginning of the most famous soliloquy in the play, and probably in the English language. Hamlet meditates on life’s most basic philosophical dilemma, namely life and whether it is worth living. Is it nobler to accept life’s hardships quietly, or is death preferable? In the story Laertes?s father also dies and decides to avenge his father?s death right away unlike Hamlet who waits until the end.

According to Joel Sommer Littauer ?Hamlet swears revenge. But rather than swoop instantly to that revenge, Hamlet pretends to be insane in order to mask an investigation of the accusation brought by his father’s ghost. Why Hamlet puts on this “antic disposition” and delays in killing Claudius is the central question of the play. But Hamlet did not swear to his dead father that he, detective-like, would investigate. Hamlet swore revenge. And he has more than enough motivation to exact revenge.? Hamlet investigates his fathers murder by acting all disassociated.

?The reasons for Hamlet’s obsession with exacting revenge against Claudius are fairly straightforward. The ghost of Hamlet Sr. informed Hamlet that Claudius killed Hamlet Sr. and thus usurped him from his throne. In doing so, he emasculated Hamlet by robbing him of his central role model of masculinity, namely his father. He also committed the moral and political sin of regicide, and the familial sin of killing his brother and subsequently sleeping with his wife. Claudius also deprived Hamlet of his rightful kingship, since Hamlet was second in line after Hamlet Sr. In addition, Hamlet now knows that his love of his mother is corrupted since she is affectionate towards his emasculating enemy. ? ( Elliot, 22) Elliot was saying that Hamlet?s father returned to inform him that Claudius killed him. Hamlet then realized that Claudius has not only killed his father, he denied him of being king.

In the play, ?Hamlet? by William Shakespeare, I believe that the theme of this play is revenge. Throughout the story, Hamlet is contemplating about revenge (against whom? and why?). Hamlet wasn?t sure if he found it worth while risking his own life to avenge his father?s .He challenged Claudius to fight. He kills him, yet Hamlet dies because of poison that was on Laertes sword before he fought Claudius. Revenge isn?t worth killing anyone like Hamlet did. Its like a game, if you are defeated by an opponent, you will always remember what had happened so you can be better prepared the next time you face them . But in life I don?t think its right to go out and kill someone like Hamlet did or Laertes. Say you do kill someone to avenge a person?s death. Where does that take you? It doesn?t take you anywhere. Mostly likely you will end up in jail for a long time. People always say ?revenge is sweet? but there are many different ways of handling situations such as Hamlet.

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