Is Hamlet's revenge worth it?what do you think?

8 Answers

mshurn's profile pic

Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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    1. who is the protagonist of the play? Hamlet or Claudius?

Hamlet is not only the protagonist, he is also one of Shakespeare's most famous tragic heroes, along with Macbeth, Othello, Lear, and Brutus. Hamlet's fatal flaw seems to be his inability to make a decision and take responsibility for it. Is it possible to think too much? Based on Hamlet, I would say so.

eabettencourt's profile pic

eabettencourt | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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The question of whether the revenge is "worth it" or not is a moot point, considering that it is written as a revenge play.  The question should never be:  Should Hamlet seek revenge?  Rather, the play poses questions about Hamlet's reluctance, eventually exploring quite existential views on life and death.

pippin1313's profile pic

pippin1313 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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Considering the time and the beliefs of the Elizabethans, quite probably not. In the first instance the ghost shouldn't be trusted as he could be evil and what he asks Hamlet to do is unreasonable. This explains Hamlet's almost obsessive need to prove Claudius' guilt.

By murdering Claudius, Hamlet is condemning himself to an eternity in purgatory. Even his father is not facing this.

On top of these issues is the body count. He loses true love and everyone who is dear to him ends up betraying him and eventually dead.

I personally find Hamlet incredibly annoying but even he does not deserve all this! He feel obligated to take revenge and although he feels melancolic, he'd probably get over it and lead a reasonably happy life. Taking revenge destroys all opportunities for this.

mahirbarut's profile pic

mahirbarut | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

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Hamlet has usually a period of doubt, where he tries to decide whether or not to go through with the revenge since he had a religious education. but he has to take because his country is corrupted and for the betterment of his people, for the sake of Denmark of course it must be worth everthing..

frizzyperm's profile pic

frizzyperm | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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The ghost of Hamlet's dearly-loved father returns from the grave to exhort him to revenge his 'most foul and bloody murder'. He is honor-bound by all the ancient codes of filial duty and masculinity to take revenge or be the worst thing his society could call a man: a coward. This is how Hamlet measures the need for revenge on Claudius (in Act V, talking with Horatio before the duel with Laertes)

He that hath kill'd my king and whored my mother,
Popp'd in between the election and my hopes,
Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
And with such cozenage--is't not perfect conscience,
To quit him with this arm? and is't not to be damn'd,
To let this canker of our nature come
In further evil?

Claudius is a villain.

Am I a coward? Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across?
A bloody, bawdy, remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villian.

And he has made himself King of Denmark. This is not just revenge, this is a national emergency. Yes, it is worth trying to kill him.