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Copy of Revenge Tragedy in Hamlet
Transcript of Copy of Revenge Tragedy in Hamlet
The Ghost of Hamlet's father appears to Horatio, Marcellus, and Barnardo. Horatio begs the apparition to speak, but it refuses. Horatio then reports the encounter to Hamlet.
The Ghost appears to Hamlet and they leave to speak in private.
The Ghost reveals that he is, in fact, the ghost of Hamlet's father. The revenge plot is established with the Ghost's utterance, "So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear" (1.5.7).
The Ghost says to Hamlet "upon my secure hour thy uncle stole with juice of cursed hebona in a vial and in the porches of my ears did pour the leperous distilment" (1.5.61-64).
He goes on to tell him that he needs to take revenge, but not to hurt his mother. When Hamlet stalls, the Ghost returns to remind him of what he is supposed to be doing.
Characters Involved in the
Revenge Plot of Hamlet
Ghost of King Hamlet
What is a Revenge Tragedy?
a secret murder
a ghostly visit from the murder victim
a descent into either real or fictitious madness by the avenger
a period of disguise, in which the murderer and avenger scheme against each other
an eruption of general violence
a central character who has a serious grievance against a formidable opponent
Scheming by the Avenger
To be certain of Claudius's guilt, Hamlet decides to re-enact the murder of his father with the production of The Murder of Gonzago (known as the play within the play or The Mousetrap). If Claudius is disturbed by the play it will reveal his guilt. In Hamlet's words:
"The play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king" (2.2.606-07).
Hamlet and Horatio agree that the agitated Claudius has behaved like a guilty man during the production.
A kind of tragedy popular in England from the 1590s to the 1630s, following the success of Thomas Kyd's sensational play The Spanish Tragedy.
The action is typically centered around a leading character's attempt to avenge the murder of a loved one, sometimes at the prompting of the victim's ghost.
Drawing partly on precedents in Senecan tragedy, the English revenge tragedy is far more bloodthirsty.
Basic Elements of a
The Secret Murder
Scheming by the Murderer
The Eruption of Violence
The Central Character
Originally, it was thought that King Hamlet died of natural causes, but Hamlet later finds out the truth.
The Ghost tells Hamlet "I am thy father's spirit" (1.5.9), causing Hamlet to believe what he says.
The Ghost goes on to say "sleeping in my orchard, a serpent stung me...but know thou noble youth, the serpent that did sting thy father's life now wears his crown." (1.5.35-39).
Claudius tries to arrange meetings for Hamlet, one which causes the death of Polonius.
Claudius then tries to have Hamlet killed in England, but Hamlet knows that the situation does not seem right, especially with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern being so close to the new king.
When Hamlet returns, Claudius sets up a dual between he and Laertes. Claudius thinks this plan is so brilliant that "even his mother shall uncharge the practice, and call it an accient" (4.7.66-67). The plan is for Laertes to have a poisoned blade and for there to be a poisoned glass of wine for Hamlet to drink.
It all starts with the death of Polonius; Hamlet kills him mistaking him for Claudius as he hides behind a curtain.
Ophelia takes her own life after becoming deeply troubled by her fathers death.
Laertes then wants to take revenge on the man who killed his father.
This is where Claudius' scheme comes in; Laertes ends up hitting Hamlet with the poisoned sword, Hamlet gets ahold of the sword and strikes Laertes, while in the midst of this Gertrude is drinking the poisoned wine.
Finally, Hamlet finds out that Claudius has poisoned all of them and stabs him with the poisoned sword and makes him drink the poisoned wine, just to be sure that he dies.
Horatio then wants to kill himself as well, but Hamlet tells him that he has to live on to tell their story.
The Descent into Madness
After seeing the Ghost of King Hamlet, Prince Hamlet decides that he shall act like his is mad, making Horatio and the guards swear not to tell anyone about his plan. In doing so he says, "As I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on" (1.5.171-172).
Hamlet uses plays on words making people think he is crazy.
He acts oddly toward Ophelia, causing Polonius to think that he is madly in love, although he is only doing this because he knows that he is being watched.
Hamlet is asked by his father's Ghost to take revenge against his uncle.
Hamlet is already angry with his uncle due to the hasty marriage between he and Gertrude.
He continuously postpones killing Claudius though; first he has to be sure that it was actually him, then he doesn't kill him because he appears to be praying, and when he does finally kill him, it is at the expense of many other lives.
Shakespeare is said to be the greatest Elizabethan dramatist. He wrote tragedies and comedies of great height. In his hands, the Romantic dramas reached their peak. Hamlet responds to all the rules of revenge tragedy. The revenge tragedies were very popular in the Elizabethan and Jacobeans periods.
Mabillard, Amanda. "Introduction to Elizabethan
Revenge Tragedy." Introduction to Elizabethan Revenge Tragedy. N.p., 3 Dec. 2011. Web. 08 Feb. 2013.
Joyo, Ali Asghar. "Hamlet As a Revenge Tragedy."
Ezinearticles.com. N.p., 22 Feb. 2012. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of
Denmark. Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. By Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004. 1307-406. Print.