In the novel Hamlet, characters depict many aspects of human nature. The most important of those is the impulse to seek out revenge. Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras lose their fathers and share a mutual purpose which is to seek revenge for the murder of their father. Hamlet and Laertes lose their father by an unnatural death while Fortinbras’s father dies in battle. Throughout, the novel all these three characters react very differently to the situation. When Fortinbras and Laertes discovered that their fathers were murdered, they are outraged and want to seek revenge whereas Hamlet is upset and wants to do the same, but he gives a lot of thought to the situations and the consequences he might have to face. Shakespeare’s main theme in the novel is revenge, explaining how human nature can affect its outcome through the characters of Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras who react to the theme of revenge differently.
In the beginning of the play, Hamlet comes home from college to mourn the death of his father and his mother, Gertrude is married with his uncle, Claudius. He is devastated and contemplates suicide, he says “to be or not to be”(III,1, )which shows his reaction to everything going on his life and that he is depressed and conflicted. Later, he finds out by an apparition that his father was murdered by King Claudius and had to murder him for his father to go to heaven. He reacts to all the chaos in a calm manner and plans to act crazy to find evidence that proves Claudius is a murderer. Hamlet being a madman works and people start to believe that he has lost his sanity. He over analyzes every step he takes towards killing King Claudius and eventually succeeds. While Hamlet was thoughtful about the revenge, Laertes was not. As soon Laertes found out his father was murdered by Hamlet, he comes back from France angry and determined to kill him and says “let come what comes only i’ll be revenged most thoroughly for my father” (IV.5.135)). He was quick to take action against Hamlet, so he organized a mob to attack on Denmark and threatens the King Claudius to overthrow but he calms him down because he did not want to give up his throne and together they team up to plot the murder of Hamlet. Laertes is driven by emotions and does not overanalyze any step he takes because he is easily influenced by the king, he reacts swiftly and recklessly. Both Laertes and Hamlet react differently to their father’s murder, Hamlet seeks evidence and then decides to kill King Claudius while Laertes is filled with rage and acts out of his anger rather than out of reason.
The character of Fortinbras reacted similarly to Laertes. When Fortinbras lost his father in a battle against Denmark he was quick to act, his only desire was revenge. He is outraged and wants the throne he lost in the battle. Both Fortinbras and Laertes do not think twice before taking any action, they do not realize what consequences they might have to face in the future and the afterlife. The rage in Laertes leads to his own death by his sword, he says “I am justly killed with mine own treachery”(V.2.308) but he succeeds in his mission to kill Hamlet. Both are blinded by grief of their loss and revenge is their only way out of the chaos. Fortinbras is eager to act, so when he comes to Denmark, he finds everybody dead and he is quick to act on it. He takes the throne and says “with sorrow I embrace my fortune.”(V.2.389) which means he accepts the throne of Denmark and becomes the king. At the end, both of them are manipulated easily and seek revenge for their father’s death. They take immediate and clear action for their father’s death.
The reactions of Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras to the loss of their father are symbols of revenge in the novel. Shakespeare shows a revenge driven by emotions, desires and ambition. Fortinbras and Laertes exhibit similar reactions and tempers from the main character Hamlet, who creates a thought-out plan and succeeds in his revenge to kill Claudius and free his father’s soul.
...(download the rest of the essay above)