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Alex Yu
Humanities
12/16/13
Revenge
“... Haste me to know‟t, that I, with wings as swift / As meditation or the thoughts of love,
/ May sweep to my revenge.” (I, 5, l 30-36)
Having spoken with the ghost of his father, the late King of Denmark, Hamlet
learns of his uncles evil deed; Claudius was the late king's murderer. After seizing solid
proof of Claudius's treachery, Hamlet swears to have revenge, and lashes out at his
mother for marrying Claudius. In the process, Hamlet kills Laertes father, Polonius.
Upon hearing of his fathers death, Laertes also swears to have revenge on Hamlet. Like
Hamlet, Laertes is faced with his fathers death. Though they are similar in their desire
for revenge, they find very different ways to accomplish it.
While on the path for revenge, Hamlet has the chance to strike Claudius down
while he prays.
“Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
And now I‟ll do‟t. And so he goes to heaven,
And so am I revenged. That would be scanned.
A villain kills my father; and for that
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven...” (III, 3, l 76-100)
But he does not. He would rather wait longer, for the right moment to kill Claudius, than
get his revenge right then and there, when Claudius would have the easiest time getting


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into heaven, with all his crimes already laid out to be forgiven. No, Hamlet would rather
see him burn in Hell for eternity first, with all his sins with him; like the way he sent his
father, so he waits.
Laertes comes home from France to find his father dead; and the killer Hamlet
sent to England, where he was to be sentenced to death, on his way back home as
well. Laertes is sick with grief, when his sister Ophelia commits suicide. Claudius,
seeing the distraught Laertes, plants it into his head that Hamlet not only the killer of
Polonius, but Ophelia as well. Laertes takes Claudius’s help, and plans Hamlets death.
“(Laertes) „... I‟ll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
It may be death‟...
(Claudius) „... A chalice for the nonce; whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venomed struck,
Our purpose may hold there.‟ ” (IV, 7, l 150-180)
In the end, the queen drinks the poison, both Laertes and Hamlet get cut by the
poisoned sword, and Claudius is stabbed by the sword and drowned in the poisoned
drink by Hamlet. They all die. Hamlet got his revenge, as did Laertes. It is not the
perfect ending of only Claudius dying that Hamlet was looking for, but it will have to do.
Though they are in the same boat, Laertes and Hamlet are quite different. While
Laertes knows instantly who he wants to kill and how he is to do it, Hamlet is not. He
takes time figuring out if he really should kill Claudius, and questioning himself
constantly if what he is doing is right. To Laertes there is only one path to revenge; for
Hamlet, he looks for a way out. Hamlet is all alone in his thoughts of revenge, using only


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what he can think of and what the ghost of his father says to guide him. Laertes has the
help of Claudius to guide him through his path of revenge. Laertes has a straight shot
toward revenge while it is one obstacle right after another for Hamlet to get over to
reach his revenge.
Although the times were extremely different, this type of situation occurs
very often. Two people may have a similar goal, but very different ways of going about
it. Today, you could have two people working toward world peace. One could be going
around the world and teaching people who don’t have access to education, helping
them better themselves and teaching peace. Another could have the ideal that there
can only be world peace under one over lord, and starts multiple wars killing thousands.
Although their methods are very different, they are both trying to reach a similar goal.
So the next timeyou don’t like the way someone works toward a goal, just remember,
there is always more than one way to reach that goal.

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