Revenge In Hamlet

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Throughout history, certain pieces of literature become irrelevant to the modern world. Moreover, the ability of many novels of the distant past to relate to a modern day high school student is especially difficult. However, there are a select few literary works that preach universal lessons, and stand the test of time. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is one of the few texts that effectively relates to teenagers of the past, present, and future. The struggle to recover from a tragedy, and the repercussions of revenge are two concepts explored in Hamlet to which the vast majority of teenagers can relate. In short, because the timeless concepts explored in the play pertain to the contemporary world, educators should continue to teach Hamlet.…show more content…
Furthermore, teens often seek revenge on one another without understanding that vengeance is a poor response to another person’s action. In the play, Hamlet balances his emotions poorly, and, in turn, serves as an exceptional illustration of the consequences of vengeance. He is furious at Claudius for murdering his father, and is desperate for retribution. Hamlet’s first act of retaliation is forcing Claudius to admit the truth. He achieves his goal by writing a play closely based upon his father’s murder (and ensuring Claudius is in attendance). After seeing the play, and realizing that Hamlet knows about the murder, Claudius demands “Give me some light, away!”(3.2.254). Hamlet’s vengeful plan occupies his time to the exclusion of all else. In doing so, he reminds the readers that retribution should not prevail over moving forward with one’s life. Additionally, teenagers often have difficulty in choosing acceptance over revenge, and reading literature such as Hamlet is important for developing proper decision making…show more content…
As Hamlet expresses his anger at his mother, he hears a noise from the tapestry, and, thinking it is a rat, kills Polonius with his sword (3.4.24). Hamlet is overcome with revenge, and becomes easily irritable. As a result, he kills Polonius inadvertently. The fact that revenge overrides any rational instinct in Hamlet reminds students that vengeance causes illogical thinking, and, in turn, serious consequences. Towards the end of the play, Hamlet finally receives his chance at revenge in the form of a fencing match against Claudius. Although he kills Claudius, a poisonous sword wounds Hamlet, and he exclaims that “O, I die, Horatio./ The potent poison quite o’ercrows my spirit”(5.2.352-353). Revenge distorts Hamlet’s mind to the extent that he challenges Claudius to a fencing match, even though Claudius is out to kill Hamlet. As a result, Hamlet dies, and, in turn, illustrates that revenge hinders logical decision making, and induces dire repercussions. In addition, Hamlet’s death, while an extreme case, exemplifies the need to teach the consequences of revenge to teenagers. Students need to learn that vengeance is a poor course of action, and Hamlet is an effective tool for teens to fully grasp the ramifications of

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