Value of Life as portrayed in the Play Hamlet
Throughout the play Hamlet, there has been the extensive use of the theme revenge to communicate the personality of the characters, nature’s expectation and to achieve retribution for all the wrong doings that are visible. Shakespeare also applied revenge in the play to allow the readers recognize the value of human life and to understand that the end of one life brings about a new beginning. This essay will look at the role of revenge in communicating the essence of life and show the results that brought about a new beginning.
The value of life has largely led the characters Claudius and Hamlet to possess different views and to display different personalities. In the play, after Hamlet learns from the Ghost about his father’s death, he struggles to achieve his objective and it takes him a long time. In the play, Gertrude and Claudius send Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to discover what could be bothering Hamlet. This act allows the reader to understand what could have escalated Hamlets character as the concern for his father’s death. Claudius reflects the same differentiation of character as he prays for forgiveness yet he admits he is not sure whether there will be any change in making this prayer. His actions reflect the concern he has for the life he took away.
Life as a valuable aspect is also depicted by the death of King Hamlet. The play notes the consistent appearance of the ghost to different characters telling them that his death was as a result of Claudius actions. In each of these cases, the ghosts requests to be avenged. In fact, the play notes that Prince Hamlet was on various occasions bothered by the Ghost telling him that he was yet to avenge for its death. The Ghost asks him “If thou didst ever thy dear father love” (1.5.22). The act unravels that life is valuable, and any loss experienced needs avenging. One may be tempted to think that there was no need for the ghost to quest for retribution. However, the play makes it clear that were it not for the death of King Hamlet there would be no changes in the personality of the characters, and thus there would be no death. Hamlet confirms this when he tells Ophelia “I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious” (3.1.50)
Revenge has also shown the essence of life through the death of Gertrude. In the play, Gertrude marries Claudius immediately after King Hamlet’s death and does not grieve at all. On constant occasions, she is shown to be against Prince Hamlet views and asks him to accept Claudius. Her participation in allowing Claudius thrive leads to her death. Being the wife, she should have been concerned with grieving her husband, and further sought to identify what led to King Hamlet’s death. Hamlet says, “O that this too, too solid flesh would melt” insinuating his mother character (1.3.10).
Revenge has also been reflected to be the result of a new transformation and a new beginning. As the play closes, Fortinbras, the prince of Norway takes over Denmark showing the new beginning for Denmark. Revenge also achieves to show the essence of life by culling all those individuals that are implicated in the death scandal. The most notable cases being Hamlet, Laertus and Gertrude. Were it not for revenge, Fortinbras would not have been able to take over Denmark, as there would be a living heir to the throne