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Analysis of the Themes of Revenge and Death in Hamlet

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Hamlet’s character in the movie ‘Hamlet’ is very distinct from the other, more masculine characters. This is primarily due to the fact that he analyses situations rather than jumping into action without considering the consequences. Hamlet is described as a ‘floater’ and has a delay in seeking revenge. Throughout the play, Hamlet is put into certain situations where he can act but simply doesn’t, as he doesn’t like to take actions into his own hands. This is shown in the main themes of the movie when Hamlet cannot and does not embody masculine characteristics to avenge his father King Hamlet. This ultimately brings dishonor to the family as he cannot perform these actions and finds it difficult being the avenger because it is just not who he is. “What so poor a man Hamlet is…God willing, shall not lack…O cursed spite that ever I was borne to set it right,” (Act 1, Scene 5). This quote by Hamlet clearly shows that he is concerned that he is not ‘manly’ enough to avenge is the father. This ultimately creates a clear distinction the expression of masculinity by him as opposed to the other characters. The ability to think less and perform masculine actions is well represented by Fortinbras, Claudius, and Laertes in the play. Firstly, Claudius can be described as power-hungry and is not afraid to step up and act in certain situations. An example of this is when he murders his brother in order to take the throne of Denmark and marry his wife. “Oh, my offense is rank. It smells to heaven. It hath the primal eldest curse upon, a brother’s murder,”-Claudius, (Act 3, Scene 3). This example proves Claudius’ masculinity as he admits to murdering his brother and understands that it is a sin. Fortinbras and Laertes are other examples of characters who are more masculine than Hamlet. He also acts and doesn’t think. Fortinbras and Laertes are similar characters as both of their fathers died in battle and they both want to seek revenge of them. This proves that they will take action into their own hands. “His quarry cries on havoc. O proud Death, what feast is toward in thine eternal cell, that thou so many princes at a shot, hast struck,” (Act 2, Scene 4). This quote relates to Fortinbras as he extends his search for whoever killed his dad, once again portraying the masculine features of another character. It is clear that Hamlet is different to Fortinbras, Claudius, and Laertes, as he is more of an analytical person who delays his actions. This is clear when compared to the other characters in the play who act upon the situation and seek revenge, thus ultimately depicting them as more masculine.

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Q2. In many ways, Hamlet represents an emerging Renaissance man. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Hamlet is a renaissance man as he has a different approach to the world compared to other characters. He is depicted as a thinker and less of an actor. This is demonstrated in Hamlet as he moves away from the more traditional masculine roles of seeking revenge, having honor, and being a warrior. He prefers to think philosophically about things. For example, when Hamlet considers themes of revenge and death. He thinks about whether it is right to seek revenge and thinks deeply in his soliloquies about the nature of existing. This makes Hamlet different as he is clever-minded and a deep thinker but prevents him from taking action at suitable times, thus making him a renaissance man. Hamlet is also recognized as a renaissance man due to his fundamentally different perspective on how to approach the world and how to perform certain actions. Shakespeare illustrates that Hamlet is struggling with the concept of being a man. “What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties…” (Act 1, scene 7). In this quote there is a clear assertion of humanist ideas and the uniqueness of the human mind, once again demonstrating Hamlet’s deep analysis of certain themes. Hamlet also refers to men as work and a product of god’s creation, making the viewer question Hamlet’s own masculinity. With all of Hamlet’s thinking, he also struggles to take action as he cannot find himself to murder Claudius. “Why, what an ass am I!… prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell” (Act 3, Scene 5). This quote shows a clear inner struggle by Hamlet to once again commit actions as he cannot do it. Another observation of Hamlet’s expression as a renaissance man is clear in the most famous quote, “To be or not to be” (Act 3, Scene 1). This quote is very well known as it has an essential meaning of whether Hamlet should take his own life or put up with life’s struggles and continue living. Shakespeare has done this by using a number of techniques such as metaphors, repetition, and soliloquies to really extract this clear message of Hamlet’s overthinking. In summary, it is clear that Shakespeare has created Hamlet to be an emerging Renaissance man compared to other characters as he simply cannot take actions into his own hands but overthinks everything, making him less of a traditionally masculine man.

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Analysis of the Themes of Revenge and Death in Hamlet. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2023, from
“Analysis of the Themes of Revenge and Death in Hamlet.” Edubirdie, 27 Dec. 2022,
Analysis of the Themes of Revenge and Death in Hamlet. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2023].
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