Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What kind of symbols represent the theme of revenge in Hamlet? Any objects that represent revenge in Hamlet? I keep thinking about the skull... but he was only talking about human parts? Any suggestions would be great! Thanks!

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The great news about this question is that depending upon how you want to analyze the symbol, it can be suited for "revenge."


  • Three
  • The number three and its multiples (6, 9, 12, etc.) is a number often used to represent the supernatural. It can be found throughout Hamlet The number three can also be found in many fairy-tales. Darkness is used throughout Hamlet to symbolize evil. Evil happenings occur at night, in the dark, and the characters often call out to the dark to cover up their evil doings. On the contrary, the light represents good, and heaven. RedWhiteWaterSleepThe idea that sleep is interrupted – whether through insomnia, sleepwalking, or nightmares – indicates that there is a stain on the conscious – a feeling of extreme guilt.
  • Darkness/Light
  • Red is the color of sin. It represents a stain on purity. Blood is connected to red, and blood is also a physical representation of guilt.
  • White is the color of purity. White is frequently used to represent innocence. It is often contrasted with red to show that the red is a stain on the innocence.
  • Water is used to cleanse. Deriving from the Christian idea of Baptism (the tradition of washing away sins).
  • Sleep, according to Shakespeare, is the “little death.” Each night, a person sleeps to erase the day. Shakespeare makes the connection between a day and a person’s life. The sun rises – a person is born, the sun is in high set in the afternoon – a person’s mid-life, the sun begins to set – a person has reached the end of their life, the sun sets and the day has become night – a person has died. When the day ends, we begin sleep – when life ends, we begin death.
  • Sleep also serves a secondary purpose – as rejuvenation for the next day. During sleep, our body fixes itself and rests so it has the capability to begin the next day. Sleep is a representation of peace. When a person can “sleep easy,” they have a clear conscious.
  • Dreams
  • Dreams play a role as a replay of the day. In dreams, truth reveals itself – one cannot hide from his/her dreams.
  • Flowers as Symbols
  • Rosemary: remembrance, normally associated with remembrance of the dead at funerals, but also remembrance between lovers.
  • Pansies: thought-French for thought is pensees; Pensar is "to think" in Spanish ; when we say someone is pensive we mean that the person is thoughful and contemplative.
  • Fennel: marital infidelity, cuckoldry
  • Columbines: flattery- insincerity culminating in dissembling and pretense (or) ingratitude, thanklessness
  • Rue: (also "Herb Of Grace") repentance (or) sorrow
  • Daisy: forsaken love, unhappy love
  • Violets: faithfulness

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