Hamlet has many of the elements of the Elizabethan revenge drama or tragedy, but it is also a psychological drama in two significant ways. Young Hamlet does finally avenge the death of his father, also Hamlet, by killing his murderer, Claudius. Along the way, however, he accidentally kills Polonius, so Laertes must avenge his father’s death; he also does this at the play’s end by killing Hamlet. The second revenge plot largely serves to support the main one by emphasizing the motif of father-son bonds. However, although a lot of people die in the play, only a few of those killings are actually acts of revenge, which is different from the typical Elizabethan version.
Many people have argued that the differences from the genre account for this play’s longevity. Hamlet’s psyche is really the subject, as his conscience and indecisiveness block him for a long time from taking the act of vengeance. The psychological aspects also include suspense similar to a modern detective story. If the audience believes the Ghost right away, then Claudius is certainly guilty. Until Claudius admits his guilt, the audience cannot be sure if Hamlet is right to be so cautious.