How does Hamlet deal with the revengers r& Essay
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Revenge is defined as “retaliation for an offence or injury”; Hamlet has two main reasons for needing revenge, political and moral. Politically he has to kill Claudius for the offence of denying Hamlet, the heir to the Danish kingdom, his usurped crown. He also has a moral reason, as the “son of a dear father murdered”(II. ii. 581); he has a duty to extract revenge for the injury; and filially to protect his mother by ridding her of an incestuous and immoral marriage to a murderer.
He has no doubt even to himself that he does have this dutiful role to perform,” I know my course” (II. ii. 596).
To seek this revenge he would have to kill Claudius and his mother, for they are both guilty of having impure souls. But one of the very first internal conflicts Hamlet has is when the Ghost tells him “nor let thy soul contrive Against thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven… ” (I. iv. 85). This leaves him in great turmoil, as he can justify to himself the killing of Claudius, but not letting his mother live. He is so overcome with a sense of purity and morality, especially with concern to women, it does not seem right to him that something so tainted should be allowed to carry on in the world.
He wants his perfect revenge, one that would satisfy his meticulously accomplished conscience, but he can not carry it out, so instead he declines it altogether, or at least puts it off in stages, until he can prove it to himself and can put it off no longer. He is willing to taint his own soul and so go to hell and enter a damnation possibly even worse than that in which the Ghost resides, which he tells Hamlet just to know about would, “harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, make thy two eyes like stars start from their spheres, thy knotted and combini?? d locks to part, and each particular hair to stand on end like quills upon the fretful porpentine” (I. iv. 16).
Yet he is willing to suffer all this for the sake of revenge in killing Claudius, to avenge his father, so to save his mother, to “leave her to heaven” (I. v. 86), when even he is not allowed this blessing. What he is giving up to be the dutiful son and revenge his fathers murder in comparison to what Gertrude is giving up leaves his worse off than her, even though she has been an adulterous wife. Therefore her being allowed to live on in sin is as wrong not only on her part, but also on Hamlets for allowing it to be.
Hamlet knows what he is sacrificing of himself, his immortal soul, if he is to take on the revengers’ ri?? le. It is a heavy burden to carry, and not one that he is willing to undertake lightly, so he wants to be absolutely certain of Claudius guilt before taking action. For as certain as he is of the course of action that must be taken, the truth of the Ghosts words must be ascertained, for when Hamlet converses with him he does not know for certain if it is “a spirit of health or goblin damned, bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell, be thy intents wicked or charitable” (I. iv. 40).
So to affirm the facts for himself, Hamlet has the players perform the play and watches for Claudius’s reaction to his own murderous and incestuous actions being acted out before him. For Hamlet this is supposed to be a resolution, a confirmation of his suspicions before he can act, a catalyst to spur him on depending on the success of his experiment. Hamlet becomes angry and disgusted with himself; he can’t understand his own lack of passion, even after proving to himself that Claudius is guilty.
He is very aware of himself not crying in the rehearsal of the play, when the players are moved to tears over the story of the “rousi??d vengeance” (II. ii. 486) of Pyrrhus, Priam and Hecuba. As soon as he is alone, he bursts out “O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I! Is it not monstrous that this player here, But in a fiction, in a dream of passion, Could force his soul so to his own conceit That from her working all his visage waned, Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect….
And all for nothing” He feels miserable at his deficit, he is forced to compare himself and he comes of he worse. ” What would he do had he the motive and the cue for passion that I have? … Make mad the guilty and appal the free”.
He again feels this lack of justified fervour when young Fortinbras goes to battle to fight and possibly to die for a land that is acknowledged to be not worth the sacrifice “we go to gain a little patch of ground that hath in it no profit but the name” (IV. iv. 18). This is again someone showing emotion and action when there is not as much reason to do so as there is for Hamlet. When he is alone he sees what Fortinbras has done as being honourable and a rebuke of his own inaction, whereas before when talking to Fortinbras’ captain, he had been cynical as to the actions they were carrying out.
He analyses himself as “thinking too precisely on th’event – A thought which, quartered, hath but one part wisdom and ever three parts coward” (IV. iv. 41). He sees his need to think things through before acting as a deplorable weakness. Even he can see hat he is being weak minded and indecisive. But even when convinced he can’t kill his uncle deliberately, in a rage he thinks he has killed him, but it was just Polonius. Having proved Claudius’ guilt, Hamlet now has to act, and yet does not act straight away, but postpones it, indicating that there are also other deeper subconscious reasons that could affect him.
The death of his father at the beginning of the play and the hasty incestuous marriage of his mother upset him greatly and have led to his obsessions with death, decay, sin the body and its parts and with women, purity and the defiling of them. We can see this from speeches such as, “O that this too too sullied flesh would melt… Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His cannon ‘gainst self-slaughter. ” (I. ii. 129) “Frailty, thy name is woman. ” (I. ii. 146) “For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a good kissing carrion – have you a daughter?
” (II. ii. 181) “Or in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil” in which Hamlet is clearly fixed on purity, women, death and suicide. Claudius being a murder and committing incest and yet still having the crown of Denmark and outwardly appearing to be just, honourable and a good leader (quote? ) could explain why Hamlet often confuses the order of society in his speeches. This can be seen when he calls himself a “rogue and peasant slave” (II. ii.547) when he clearly isn’t, or when he calls himself “unpregnant” and likens himself to a “whore” in the same soliloquy, when he obviously is not.
To Hamlet, Claudius is tainted and impure in mind and action, yet he is a good ruler of Denmark, a good king, and a good diplomat. He is efficient, confident, in control of affairs, in every way assured and poised. Hamlet identifies with Claudius in a way that restrains him from being able to kill him, hamlet has all the ability and the necessary desire, but Claudius has everything Hamlet wants, which leads to internal sub-conscious conflict on as well as his conscious conflicts.
His mother’s ability to alter the direction of her affection from one person to another so suddenly hurts Hamlet, as having to share her with his own father was difficult enough, but at least was understandable. He is now jealous that someone else holds such high regard in her affections but at the same time is disgusted with her for loving someone else. But as his jealousy is repressed, as he doesn’t even admit to himself that he is jealous of his mother’s lovers, all he feels is a deep sense of disgust towards Gertrude that helps him deal with his rejection.
Hamlet could be suffering from the theory that Freud developed, the Oedipus theory. This states that as children, young boys feel great bitterness and resentment towards their fathers for making them share their mothers affections and for having sexual relations with their mothers which the young boys also desire, and so they view their fathers as rivals that they would rather have out of the way. These thoughts are repressed as a form of defence for fear that their fathers will realise what they are thinking. To compensate for this they resolve the complex by over identifying with their fathers and adopting many of their fathers’ attitudes.
This could be used to explain Hamlet’s impediment and self-frustration towards his revenge. He tries to carry out the task, but he is held back in some way, because he cannot kill a person who he recognises as so like himself in what he wants to be like and wishes he could do. His desires towards his mother have been so long repressed that they are now repulsive to him, but yet her remarrying brings those thoughts to his attention. He sees someone taking the place of his father in her affections, the place that he has long coveted.
The nature of this usurper, a relative, makes the link between the two even more incestuous in Hamlet’s mind and even more connected towards him. This, coupled with the fact that Claudius is able to gain his mother’s affection by killing old Hamlet, ridding him, once again something that Hamlet has long wanted to do but repressed from himself, hinders Hamlet greatly from carrying out his revenge. When Hamlet discovers the identity of his father’s murderer his first instant reply is “O my prophetic soul! My uncle? ” (I. v. 40). This does imply that unconsciously the idea had been in his mind and had suddenly been brought back to his awareness.