Greed Launches Outbreak of Revenge

By: Elizabeth Nelsen at THE DANISH INQUIRY NEWS

The Story


This week one act sparked a flood of deaths in the royal family. Only one remained to tell the tale- the dear friend of Prince Hamlet, Horatio. It appears that the nation has been fed lies by King Claudius.


To start, King Hamlet died of unknown causes. That was until his ghost returned and revealed the truth to his son, Prince Hamlet. Claudius was jealous of the enormous power his brother held, leading him to plot and execute the treacherous murder of Hamlet.


The next events, however, introduced more than jealousy. Dark characteristics proved to have overtaken Claudius when he had greedily married Hamlet’s now widowed wife, Queen Gertrude.


As for the Prince, his grief overcame him. When his father’s ghost demanded he take revenge for his murder, Hamlet turned mad. Ideas of this revenge erased his rationality, and led him to mistakenly kill his father’s counselor, Polonius.


Claudius, realizing the reason for the madness of his nephew, feverishly plotted Prince Hamlet’s death. After Polonius’ son, Laertes, learned of his father’s death, he tasted the same flavor of revenge. He returned to Denmark only to hear of the suicide of his dear sister, Ophelia, who was also beloved of Prince Hamlet. Driven closer to the dark side, Laertes and Claudius conspired to end Prince Hamlet in a duel.


At this fateful duel, Laertes’s poisoned sword killed both himself and Prince Hamlet, but not before Hamlet could exact his own revenge. After a poisoned drink killed his mother, he made Claudius drink from the same cup. Only Horatio was left to tell the tale- and give the kingdom away to young Prince Fortinbras of Norway.


Thus, we examine the motives behind the actions.


We look to the anger and jealousy which sparked the fire. When Claudius consumed a savory bite of power, his greed for another served only to stoke the fire. So the cycle continued. His lies and deceit massed with the retaliation of others created an inferno, which only spread with his own growing paranoia of losing his newly gained power.


The same proved true with the other gentlemen. Perhaps humans are driven by values other than success, love, or knowledge. Perhaps mankind is driven by darker causes- anger and jealousy, lies and greed, power and revenge.


While human beings admire the better qualities- honesty and dignity, respect and honor, empathy and charity- they generally do not lead to profitable outcomes.


Looking at Claudius’ actions, jealousy led him to the throne and a wife. His bad characteristics led him to profit. So, it stands to reason that mankind enjoys the riches it receives through negative actions. This, however, leads to a domino effect of greed- which in Claudius’ case led to a spree of revenge killings and ultimately his own fateful death.

The Characters

The Quotes


GHOST to HAMLET:

"Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder."

(1.5.25)


HAMLET:

"Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,

That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,

Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,

Must like a whore unpack my heart with words

And fall a-cursing like a very drab,

A scullion! Fie upon't! Foh!"

(2.2.569-574)


KING to LAERTES:

"No place indeed should murder sanctuarize;

Revenge should have no bounds."

(4.7.124-128)


LAERTES to CLAUDIUS:

"I dare damnation. To this point I stand,

That both the worlds I give to negligence,

Let come what comes, only I'll be reveng'd

Most throughly for my father."

(4.5.132-135)

The Bibliography


Bauer, John. "Hamlet." Alan Bates Film Archive. 10 May 1997. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. <http://alanbates.com/abarchive/film/hamlet.html>.


McGilvray, Gale. "The Actors Who Played in Different Versions of Hamlet." Laertes. 11 May 2011. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. <http://kennetthellolaertes.blogspot.com/2011/05/actors-who-played-laertes-in-different.html>.


"REVENGE in Hamlet." REVENGE in Hamlet. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. <http://superterrificawesomehamlet.weebly.com/>.


Roy, Matthew. "Are They Really the Same?" Dont Hug the Grizzly Bear. 28 Sept. 2010. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. <http://loveandlichen.wordpress.com/category/films/the-lion-king/>.


Shakespeare, William. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Champaign, Ill.: Project Gutenberg, 1998. Print.


TintinY. "Hamlet." DeviantART. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. <http://tintiny.deviantart.com/art/hamlet-205036011>.