The Dangers of Revenge: A Lesson from “Hamlet”
“Hamlet” is a play written by Shakespeare that has been performed countless times over the years. The story is based around the titular character, Hamlet, and his quest to avenge his father’s death. While the play is full of action and intrigue, it is also a tragedy, and as such, reflects the consequences that can befall those who seek revenge.
2. The Use of Revenge in “Hamlet”
As aforementioned, revenge is a key element in “Hamlet”. Hamlet’s father, the King of Denmark, was murdered by his uncle, Claudius, who then married Hamlet’s mother and took the throne. When the ghost of Hamlet’s father appears to him and tells him of Claudius’ treachery, Hamlet swears to take revenge.
This quest for revenge drives the entire plot of the play. Every decision that Hamlet makes is based on his desire to kill Claudius. He feigns madness in order to avoid suspicion, and he even murders Polonius, thinking he was Claudius, in order to get closer to his goal. In the end, Hamlet succeeds in killing Claudius, but at great cost. Almost everyone close to him has died, including his own father, mother, and girlfriend.
3. The Consequences of Revenge in “Hamlet”
While “Hamlet” is ostensibly a tragedy about revenge gone wrong, it also contains a number of moral lessons about the dangers of seeking vengeance. One of the most important lessons is that revenge seldom ends well for those who seek it. This is exemplified by the fact that almost everyone who seeks revenge in “Hamlet” ends up dead.
Hamlet’s quest for revenge leads him down a dark path that ultimately destroys him and everyone around him. Ophelia goes mad with grief after her father’s death and eventually kills herself. Laertes also loses his mind with anger and ends up killing himself and his sister as well. Even Gertrude, who was not directly involved in any of the revenge plots, dies as a result of them.
The other major lesson that “Hamlet” teaches about revenge is that it is often counterproductive. Although Hamlet does eventually kill Claudius, it does not bring him any real satisfaction or peace of mind. In fact, it only serves to further damage his already fragile mental state. Throughout the play, Hamlet oscillates between wanting to take revenge and wanting to simply forget about the whole thing and move on with his life. In the end, it is clear that revenge has done nothing but destroy everything around him.
“Hamlet” is a tragedy about the dangers of revenge. The play illustrates that revenge seldom ends well for those who seek it, and that it is often counterproductive. These lessons are still relevant today, as evidenced by the many tragic stories of revenge gone wrong that make headlines every year.