Themes of Hamlet

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The theme of justice seeps into the pores of Hamlet and becomes its very essence. The entire play is driven by Hamlet’s resolution to revenge his father’s wrongful death: “Thy commandment all alone shall live within the book and volume of my brain” (1.5.103-104). From hereon, Hamlet feels an overwhelming purpose “to set it right” and takes actions to achieve this goal (1.5.190). The conflict becomes resolved and justice prevails only after Hamlet slays Claudius. Hamlet stabs the king and Laertes remarks, “He is justly serv’d” (5.2.294). Accordingly, Hamlet must also receive justice as well for he unwittingly murdered Polonius. Laertes achieves this retribution for both Polonius and Ophelia, whose death was spurred by Polonius’. Nearing the end of their lives, Laertes beseeches Hamlet, “Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet: Mine and my father’s death come not upon thee, nor thine on me!” to ensure that the two may pass peacefully without lingering dissention. (5.2.295-297) Gertrude’s lustful pitfall is also resolved when she sacrifices herself for her son by taking the poisoned drink. The play’s purpose is met and the characters no longer endure suffering from unfinished business. Their tension and contempt for each other are released with the vengeance dealt. Shakespeare has continuously stressed this powerful concept of justice in which the wrongdoer receives what is due to him and by the culmination of the play the tensions are dispersed due to this. The other prevalent theme, death, floods the inner recesses of Hamlet’s psyche as he develops a fascination with the subject. Death haunts every aspect of the play and darkly envelopes the castle with its presence. Even at the beginning, Hamlet grieves for the death of his father. He yearns for death to end his own existence in a world he deems unbearable. Death’s enigmatic qualities are poured over by

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