Francis Bacon, Shakespeare's contemporary, wrote that revenge is a kind of wild justice. This was not an expression of approbation, since Bacon, a lawyer who rose to be Lord Chancellor, goes on to say that justice should be left in the hands of the law, rather than being the subject of private vendettas.
What is one to do, however, when dealing with those whose power places them above the law, as that of Claudius clearly does? There is not a single line in Hamlet which might be interpreted as meaning that Claudius could be held to account under the law for his murder. Indeed, Claudius states it as a general rule that those who profit from their crimes tend not to be called to account for them:
In the corrupted currents of this world
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft 'tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law:
In Hamlet , therefore, revenge is not merely a kind of wild justice. It is the only kind of justice available in this world. Claudius worries about his immortal...
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