Words of Wisdom:

"Help people with your heart not what you gain from him/her. " - Strobelights23


  • Date Submitted: 06/02/2013 06:56 PM
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Brian O'Grady
Mrs. Venturini
Thursday March 5, 2013

Revenge, Responsibility, and Honour in Hamlet

Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras all share a common situation: murdered fathers. However all display different character traits and flaws, explored through the themes of revenge, responsibility and honor. Hamlet’s character is defined by his obsession with vengeance, while Laertes’ pursuit of honour causes him to act recklessly. Ultimately, only Fortinbras is able to demonstrate responsibility and show maturity and restraint in his actions, and thus is the only character of the three to rise above the tragedy and survive.
Throughout the play, Hamlet had an overwhelming need for vengeance. As a result of this, he lacks responsibility and honor. When Hamlet finds out that his father is murdered by Polonius he decides that it is necessary to act crazy, by doing this Hamlet created a distraction which ended with him getting revenge. As a result of his craziness, he acts reckless and irresponsible, Fortinbras and Laertes’ behaviour is more responsible throughout the play, such as in Fortinbras command over an entire army and Laertes work in France. In Act one, Scene 3 of the play, Laertes warns his sister Ophelia of Hamlet:
For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favour,
Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute,
No more. (1.3.5-10).
In this quotation, Laertes says that Hamlets love is not very real and will fade quickly; this is an example of Hamlet's recklessness. Similar to Laertes and Fortinbras, Hamlet's father was also murdered but he reacts differently than the others. After the death of Hamlet's father, his honor becomes less of a priority then it was before. From the beginning Hamlet's family is dishonored as his father is murdered by his uncle then marries his wife (Hamlet's mother). In Act 3, Scene 2 Hamlet says "...I...


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