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Revenge: Hamlet and The Tempest

revenge
by

Carolina Ferrante

on 11 May 2015

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Transcript of Revenge: Hamlet and The Tempest

Revenger's plays
We can describe both
The

Tempest

and
Hamlet
as revenger's plays, because both

Prospero
and
Hamlet
, the protagonists of two of the most famous Shakesperian plays, attempt to commit their revenge. But there are many differences between the two characters and the two plays: while Hamlet has revenge as its main theme, The Tempest, with the role of Prospero, introduces a much more complex variety of different themes.
Prospero, the victim
Prospero is the king of an island in wich everything is an illusion: he's the illusionist, the magician with all the spirits on his command, but first of all, he's a man of deep loneliness, whose heart is desert just like the island where he lives. He's a
victim
of those who exiled him on the island, and in the first act, he himself tells their story to the young daughter Miranda: he was the rightful
Duke of Milan
, but his evil brother,
Antonio
, took his throne and started to reign at his place, while Prospero was deeply involved in his magical studies.
Prospero, the revenger
Prospero causes a tempest with his magic, an
inner
tempest, in wich no one of the characters gets killed. How is this possible? Well, we can say Prospero's revenge actually never happens, but it's just part of a drama in wich every character, just as in the theater, plays his own part. His revenge is a fictional element wich Prospero puts on the scene but never commit. He will understand, at the end of the play, in a final confession, that Revenge is pointless and useless: what gives peace to a man is his will to
forgive
. So, forgiveness is stronger than the desire of Revenge.
Revenge in Hamlet
In Hamlet, Shakespeare describes the prince of Denmark as a character unable to act, and to committ the act of his revenge: in fact what he does is to enstage his revenge. In this famous play, in wich revenge is the main theme, Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark sees the ghost of his father, the king, who was killed by his brother, Claudius, who is now married to the queen, Hamlet's mother. So, the ghost encourages Hamlet to murder Claudius in order to get his revenge. As in The Tempest, Shakespeare uses here the

metatheatre
: Hamlet re-enacts his father's murder with a play, to see Claudius reaction and to prove he's guilty. In the end, all the carachters die, but still we aren't able to understand if the revenge really happened or not.
Revenge: Hamlet and The Tempest
The famous To be or not to be soliloquie shows Hamlet's conflict between action and in-action, and between life and death.
Ophelia, by John Everett Millais (1852). This painting shows the death of one of the characters from Hamlet, prince of Denmark, Ophelia, Hamlet's lover, who drowns herself after Hamlet kills her father, Polonius.
''We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.'' -from the last speech by Prospero
Hamlet and The Tempest: a tragedy and a tragicomedy
The Tempest
is described as a tragicomedy, because although it rapresents some dramatic situations, such as the shipwreck, and has some themes wich are tipical of the Shakespearian tragedies, there is a happy ending, in wich no one of the carachters turns out to be actually evil.
Hamlet
is a tragedy, because the events turn to be destinated to a tragic epilogue, and evil feelings and desires can't be controlled by the characters, leading to the death of each of them.
Full transcript