Hum, I have heard/ T’ assume a pleasing shape. Through his smooth victory in the end, Shakespeare might be showing us the smoothest way of revenge. But taking revenge could never settle the matter for Hamlet, because the root cause of his quandary lies deeper than his uncle’s villainy. It should be noted that this delay is not uncommon in Elizabethan revenge tragedies. Not the son, but the father. Fear drives people to behave irrationally and leads to madness, confusion, death, and most importantly revenge. For the delight seemeth to be not so much in doing the hurt as in making the party repent. There’s no point asking Hamlet why, because Hamlet himself is baffled by his inability to act promptly. Hamlet alongside the death of his father also avenges for the betrayal by his two friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern when he forges the very letter to the King of England in which Claudius had ordered the execution of Hamlet. Indeed after his departure for England, Hamlet’s obligation to avenge his father seems all but forgotten, and on his return he shows no sign of planning to take his uncle’s life. Revengefulness can also have a consoling end. That the cause might be ‘some craven scruple / Of thinking too precisely on th’ event’ (4.4.40–41), as a result of which action becomes impossible, might seem plausible. Betrayal precedes revenge. A.C. Bradley, for example, diagnosed the prince in his influential study Shakespearean Tragedy as afflicted by the form of depression called melancholy in Shakespeare’s day, taking his cue from Hamlet’s remarking ‘I have of late – but wherefore I know not – lost all my mirth’ (2.2.295–96). When Claudius storms out during the performance, Hamlet becomes convinced of his guilt. Fortinbras travels many miles to take his revenge and ultimately succeeds in conquering Denmark; Laertes plots to kill Hamlet to avenge the death of his father, Polonius. We can create an original paper just for you! They are going to try and convince Hamlet to battle with Laertes. He notices that the King is praying and draws his sword then stops and he thinks about it for a little while. For Hamlet, “‘To be’ refers to taking arms against Claudius and ‘not to be’ indicates suffering or inaction…or to endure one’s troubles passively” (Petronella, 73-74). In conclusion, wanting revenge did nothing but make things worse for everyone causing many deaths. The same goes for Laertes and Fortinbras. Laertes is happy to hear that Hamlet is coming back to Denmark, so his revenge doesn’t have to be delayed. Lee Jamieson, M.A., is a theater scholar and educator. For as for the first wrong, it doth but offend the law; but the revenge of that wrong putteth the law out of office. For centuries critics have tied themselves in knots trying to solve the baffling problem Hamlet appears to pose. Indeed, the famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy is Hamlet's debate with himself about what to do and whether it will matter.

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