St.Joseph High School
ELA B30, Period 2
Wed, Oct, 23, 2013
In Hamlet, Hamlet’s and Laertes’ quests for revenge suggest that the reader need to think coherently and clearly so that their thoughts do not pressure them into actions that they do not find moral. In Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Hamlet’s revenge is appropriate but Laertes’ revenge is inappropriate. Because of this, Hamlet’s revenged was based on an obvious reason and he did not want to revenge for his father’s loyalty. However, Laertes’ revenge did not have a certain purpose.
Hamlet had a clear reason for revenge on Claudius and he thought about morality before he decided to kill Claudius. When Laertes decided to kill Hamlet, he had not thought about the reason that Hamlet killed Polonius or what made Ophelia commit suicide. The diction in the text suggests that the characters will do whatever it takes to get revenge, without a sense of rationale, thus effecting their morality. Claudius provides evidence, saying: "Laertes, was your father dear to you? /or are you like the painting of a sorrow...To show your father's son in deed/more than in words?"(4, vii, 105-7; 123-4). This stresses that Claudius knows Laertes is unmorally passionate because Laertes has a strong thirst for revenge, but he wants Laertes to recognize it completely. Laertes responds: "To cut his throat I' the church," (4, vii, 125), which shows that Laertes does recognize his passion. Tragically, this shows that Laertes is too focused on vengeance to see clearly because he is so quick to say how and where he'll take his vengeance. He doesn't see that Claudius wants Hamlet dead for his own reason, not because Hamlet killed Polonius. Moreover, this reveals that the act of carrying out revenge takes away the avenger's capability to think morally because he is too busy keeping the promise of vengeance.
Hamlet was not naturally vengeful, but he was loyal to his father so he swore an oath...