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Wilder Koeven

Hamlet Literary Analysis A story is always driven forward by a specific series of events and emotions caused by these events. Throughout a story the main character, or characters, face challenges and situations that will cause them to react in a specific way and further certain themes, which are set in place by the author of the works. These themes range from outward emotions and settings, to internal power struggles and universal complexes, and the continued use of them sets up the final stage of the story. The play Hamlet, has many different themes, each used to further the story, but none more than the most prominent theme, namely, Revenge. In the play, the continued use of Revenge by three people, Claudius, Laertes, and Hamlet himself, is the primary cause to untimely end of almost every character, and the dramatic close to the play. The chain of events that sets everything into motion is the point at which Hamlet learns of how his father, the king was killed. Hamlet vows to avenge his father by slaying his uncle, who not only poisoned the late king, but married his wife, Hamlets mother. This exact vow is what sets everything rolling. Hamlet is often found contemplating how evil his uncle is, and how wrong it was for him to marry his mother, and wants only the worst kind of hell for Claudius. Which is why Hamlet did not strike Claudius when he had the chance. Claudius was praying alone in the chapel, a perfect opportunity, but hamlet did not want to give his uncle even the slightest chance of being forgiven his crimes. This later allows for him to strike blindly at the man concealed behind the curtain in his mother’s room. But instead of killing Claudius, who he

thought was behind the curtain, he killed Polonius, Laertes’ father, thus bringing a whole new chapter to the book of revenge. Laertes loved his sister very much, and was most likely not on the best terms with hamlet, given that hamlet was seeing his sister. And then when he learned that it was not Claudius that killed his father, but hamlet, he became completely unhinged. This if first shown at Ophelia’s grave, when he and Hamlet were fighting with each other inside of the grave, about who loved her more. The death of his father, and sister, which he whole heartedly blamed on hamlet, is what lead to him to seeking revenge on Hamlet with Claudius. The plan started simply with an accident in a fencing match, then moved to the poisoning of the blade just to be sure. Then to take out any shadow of doubt, they chose to poison hamlets drinking water in the match. It was his fierce desire for revenge that lead to this grossly overwhelming use of force on hamlet, and eventually lead to not only the unintended deaths of innocent people, but himself as well. This chain of revenge can be traced all the way back to Claudius, the man who desired the throne to such an extent; he would murder his own brother. Claudius is trying to get Hamlet from the get go, for every time Hamlet embarrassed him in front of others. Then when Hamlet put the play that showed him killing his brother. Up to the point that he kills Polonius, and to where hamlets unintended actions cause Ophelia to drown. Claudius built upon Laertes desire for revenge by staging the scene for hamlets downfall. He and Laertes succeed, hamlet dies in the end, but so do themselves, and Hamlets mother. The chain of every one bent upon getting revenge is dead.

The actions of Claudius, Laertes, and hamlet, all who were on a suicidal rush for revenge, is what ultimately ended each of them, and the story. It was the chain of events from Claudius killing hamlets father, to Hamlet accidentally killing Polonius, then onto Laertes deciding to poison hamlet, and Claudius taking the poison a step further, that brought the ending to the play each life wasted on revenge. Hamlet died, Claudius died, Laertes died, Polonius died, Ophelia died, all because of pointless revenge.