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What is arguably Shakespeare's greatest play, "Hamlet," is often understood to be a revenge tragedy, but it is quite an odd one at that.It is a play driven by a protagonist who spends most of the play contemplating revenge rather than exacting it.Compared to these characters, Hamlet’s revenge is ineffectual.
Hamlet’s inability to avenge the murder of his father drives the plot and leads to the deaths of most of the major characters, including Polonius, Laertes, Ophelia, Gertrude, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
And Hamlet himself is tortured by his indecision and his inability to kill his father's murderer, Claudius, throughout the play.
The revenge itself ends up being almost an afterthought, and in many ways, is anticlimactic.
Indeed, the famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy is Hamlet's debate with himself about what to do and whether it will matter.
Hamlet’s revenge is delayed in three significant ways.
First, he must establish Claudius’ guilt, which he does in Act 3, Scene 2 by presenting the murder of his father in a play. You can use this password for unlimited period and you can share it with your friends! Once you place your order you will receive an email with the password.To highlight Hamlet’s inability to take action, Shakespeare includes other characters capable of taking resolute and headstrong revenge as required.Fortinbras travels many miles to take his revenge and ultimately succeeds in conquering Denmark; Laertes plots to kill Hamlet to avenge the death of his father, Polonius.Shakespeare's genius lies in how he transcends the typical revenge tragedy tropes.He accomplishes this by creating one of the smartest, most thoughtful, and most complex characters in Western literature: Hamlet.Who would these fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death-The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn No traveler returns- puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of?Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pith and moment With this regard their currents turn awry And lose the name of action.- Soft you now! - Nymph, in thy orisons Be all my sins rememb'red.But if Shakespeare's is primarily a revenge tragedy." That is definitely the simplest genre in which to categorize the play.But if Shakespeare's than a revenge tragedy, it would not be the celebrated play that it has been for so many centuries.