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Theme of Revenge in Hamlet

In both versions, however, the scene in which Hamlet follows the Ghost through the castle to hear its story sets up all the problems of the play. Revenge is the paramount concern of the play, and it reaches cosmic dimensions almost from the moment it is mentioned. It is an aspect of Destiny because it impinges on Hamlet's troubled consciousness yet pushes him beyond consciousness to active revenge: "O all you host of heaven! O earth! what else? / And shall I couple hell?" (I.v.92-3). After brief consultation with Horatio, he considers going off to pray, to sort out what the Ghost has told him, whereupon the Ghost reappears, commanding him to act. This does nothing so much as cause Hamlet to question whether the Ghost, who repeatedly intones from beneath (the place of hell), is really the devil, whom he compares to other denizens of the cellarage or underworld, such as the mole and pioner (miner). At the end of the long II.ii, when Hamlet determines to catch the conscience of the king by means of the play, he returns to the problem of the destiny of his soul: "The spirit that I have seen / May be the devil; and the devil hath power / To assume a pleasing shape, yea, and perhaps / . . . Abuses me to damn me" (II.ii.627-32).

In the film version, the Ghost's stark insistence on revenge takes the form of grim disapproval. The Ghost is unmoved by Hamlet's emotion, as if he is taunting, or more exactly haunting, Hamlet until the re


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Theme of Revenge in Hamlet. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:37, October 22, 2014, from
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