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What are Hamlet's steps his revange against his uncle's (Claudis)?

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naif | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted August 31, 2009 at 5:20 AM via web

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What are Hamlet's steps his revange against his uncle's (Claudis)?

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ukteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 8, 2009 at 9:28 PM (Answer #1)

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The plot of Hamlet shows him moving through various stages or steps in his attempts to take revenge--the play, the stabbing, etc. These are the outward manifestations of his promise to his father.

But it's worth looking at his state of mind as the source of his actions.  Hamlet doesn't appear to plan his revenge.  He delays, prevaricates, philosophises, questions.  There has been much debate as to the reasons for his delay--he has been presented on stage as indecisive, and his comment 'conscience doth make cowards of us all' has been interpreted as fear of the act of killing.  But conscience in Shakespeare's time also meant 'consciousness', implying his endless self-awareness and inner debates preclude action.  Yet, he is impulsive and kills Polonius without guilt ('lug the guts' into the other room) and arranges the death of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern ('they are not near my conscience').

It is likely that, while Hamlet is in a state of melancholy or depression, he can't do anything--he suffers a sort of paralysis.  When he returns from England he has changed, is the energetic, active prince who is able finally to take action.

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jagtig | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted August 31, 2009 at 11:39 PM (Answer #2)

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After initially planning to "sweep to (his) revenge," in response to the Ghost's plea, Hamlet seeks a plan. 1. First, he decides to take the opportunity afforded by the arrival of a troupe of actors to stage a play that will cause his uncle to feel guilty, a play which copies the murders as he understands them to have happened. This plan falls short of causing a confession, but confirms his uncle's guilt in his mind. 2. Then he catches his uncle alone at his prayers, confessing as he had hoped, but stops short of killing him for reasons of religion and appearances. 3. After discovering his uncle's plot against him, he vows murderous revenge, but instead enters into a duel staged to cause his death through poisoning. Finally, after being poisoned and seeing his mother poisoned, he forces his uncle to drink from the poison cup. Thus, he does what he intended from the first, but does not survive to take the crown of Denmark.

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