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Is Hamlet Primarily a Tragedy of Revenge?


Yes, Hamlet play that is written by William Shakespeare is a tragedy of revenge. This revenge leads Hamlet the lead character to death and all the other people who were close to him. The chase of Hamlet was to seek revenge for the death of his father. This feeling of revenge blinded his intelligence and morals. Hamlet is regarded as the most complex character written by Shakespeare and is regarded as the lunatic who was obsessed with taking his father’s revenge. This theme of revenge is carried out in the whole novel and acts as a driving force for Hamlet. Revenge is used as an emotion in his life that ruins his life, but if carefully observed, there was intelligence behind every move he took.


Hamlet play revolves around the story of revenge. Hamlet believed that Claudius killed his father that was true, but this has turned his life into a mess. The only two women he loved in his life were lead to death because of his revenge. His experience leads an innocent person Polonius to death while his trail of revenge caused the death of his mother. This play shows that the ability to make sound judgment and reasoning was taken away from Hamlet. He acts on impulse just on the vision from his father’s ghost without thinking logically (Shakespeare). The blame of all this can be placed on Claudius because he was the cause of all these issues.

The theme of revenge is first depicted in this play when Hamlet’s father comes in his vision and tell him to take revenge on his uncle Claudius for the murder of his father. It is the base of all the tragic incidents taking place in the play afterward. In his drive to revenge, Hamlet kills Lord Polonius instead of Claudius. It is the time when Hamlet’s initiative made him do a roughly irreversible thing. Even Ophelia gives everything up and goes crazy after the death of Hamlet’s father, and this was because he was seeking revenge on his uncle. By this act of letting everything go, Ophelia was trying to seek revenge on the whole world and individuals hurting her.

When Laertes finds out that Hamlet has killed his father and this resulted in his sister going crazy, this filled him with rage and anger. He plans to get revenge from Hamlet for this act. The story goes on and in the last scene; all the acts of revenge are collected at a single place. Hamlet wanted revenge for his father, and this thing got him killed. It is the place where everyone falls and destroys. It is the story where it is shown that revenge and rage have the power of destroying everything. Revenge is the feeling that was pursued by Hamlet, but in the end, he was the one who died because of it.

Why hamlet is primarily a tragedy of revenge

Hamlet is a story of revenge because the whole play revolves around taking revenge. This play has series of events in which the characters take revenge from one another. At first, the envy of Claudius made him murder king Hamlet. The ghost of Lord Hamlet comes to his son and ask him for avenging his murder. In the rage to kill Claudius, Hamlet accidentally killed Polonius whose son ultimately killed Hamlet for avenging his father. This same fate that followed Hamlet and there was constant thought of vengeance that leads to the demise of the families in this play.

The moral of this play is no good comes from revenge. When looking for revenge, people lose even the things that are very dear to them. This play is built around the tragedy of revenge especially to create terror and pity in the audience for the lead character. The father of lead character asked him to make a vow for murdering Claudius. It is regarded as the tragedy of revenge because King Hamlet died before seeking revenge for his death against his brother, Claudius who killed him. Then the whole story is shaped in a way that how the families are destroyed trying to take revenge.


This debate concludes that though hamlet was an intelligent character feeling of revenge blinded him. It not only affects him but also hurt the people who were close to him. Hamlet’s way of acting shocked both Ophelia and Gertrude. He acted madly, but there are places where moral hamlet is also shown. Hamlet asks forgiveness from Laertes that shows that he realized Laertes was doing same as Hamlet. This act of revenge brought him to the same place that he was avoiding. Even there are much evidence found in the text of the play that shows its revenge tragedy. Therefore, this is a tragedy of revenge where everything is ruined because of madness caused by vengeance.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. 1604.



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