At the beginning of the play, one tends to get the feeling of revenge all through the play. However, the thoughts of revenge are suddenly when revenge is delayed to the end of the play. The play takes a different turn when it shifts its focus from vengeance to the inner struggle of taking action. The play is more interested in identifying the useful nature of revenge in the events that take place other than fulfilling the desire for the audience’s thirst for blood. This is fulfilled within the flow of the play; however, Shakespeare takes the time to make it happen. Revenge seems to be the driving force behind most of the events in the play. However, I believe that the deep love and respect, as well as the desire to maintain his father’s reputation, are his main motivational factors
As the play begins with Hamlet on the stage, he reveals his loyalty to his father through his speech. Despite the fact that he had died two months before the start of the play, Hamlet is still in a state of mourning for his father who was also the King. In the meantime, Hamlet’s mother gets married to Hamlet’s uncle. Instead of them mourning for his father, Hamlet’s uncle and mother celebrate the birth of a new marriage as well as a king. In his monolog, Hamlet expresses his dismay in the ironic state he is in. He is not sure whether he should celebrate the reigning of a new king or mourn for his beloved father. He states, “But two months dead – nay, not so much, not two – / So excellent a king, that was to this / Hyperion to a satyr, so loving to my mother…” (Ham 1.2.138-140). Hamlet praises his father for his good deeds. He even goes to the extent of comparing him to Hyperion. In his eyes, his father was a person who had a combination of “god-like perfections, beauty, and wisdom” (Shakespear 135). He does not understand why his mother gets married to Claudius just two months after the death of his father yet she was deeply loved by the King.
Moments before Hamlet gets information on Claudius’s crime, he goes on to express allegiance to his father and hatred towards his uncle. He is disappointed in the fact that no one mourns together with him after he loses his father. His mother, who should have understood him well and given him a shoulder to lean on, is already taken by another man. His father’s throne is taken over by someone who is less interested in the well-being of Hamlet as the son of the King. Hamlet is frustrated towards the happenings in his life as well as the people that surround him. He believes that the decision of remarrying must be Gertrude’s fault and not the King’s. He exclaims “frailty, thy name is woman” (Ham 1.2.146)! He is extremely disappointed by his own mother. She neglects him for his Claudius, his uncle. Due to her position as a mother, Hamlet believes that she should have been available in his darkest moments to offer comfort. Unfortunately, she offers no help to him. She even commands of him to stop mourning and move on with life. She explains to him that everything that has life must die at one point or the other. In her view, this is the nature of eternity (Ham 1.2. 70-73). Instead of Hamlet heeding to his mother’s advice on stopping his useless grief, he still believes in mourning his dead father. He finds it difficult to forget Old Hamlet and impossible to embrace Claudius as his second father. Hamlet believes that his father is the best and will remain the best despite the fact that he is dead.
When he comes into contact with the Ghost, he keenly to the accusations placed against his uncle Claudius. The Ghost reveals to Hamlet that the relationship between Claudius and Getrude was not too recent. Claudius had initiated the relationship long time ago even when Getrude was still married to the King. Hamlet then realizes that the King had been wronged in a huge way. His anger against Claudius increases after knowing what he had done to his father. He confirmed that Claudius had murdered his father and took over the throne. He goes on to defend Old Hamlet’s dignity despite the diminishing of his nobility (Young 72). Despite the Ghost suggesting to him that his father may not be as great as he thought, his love for his father pushes him to refuse any tainting of Old Hamlet’s dignity. He makes up his mind to defend his father’s legacy and memory. He takes on the last commandment from the Ghost, “Adieu, adieu, adieu. Remember me” (Ham 1.5.91), seriously. He repeats the commandment several times and promises himself that he would abide by it.
To sum it up, Hamlet is driven by the love he has for his father. His actions are geared towards maintaining the legacy of his father and ensuring that his name is not tainted in any way. He goes to the extents of carrying out revenge on his fellow men just to ensure that justice for his father is served. As he converses with the Ghost, he promises that he will not allow any disrespect on his late father. He even promises to remember his father forever.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2003. Print.
Young, Bruce Wilson. “Family Life in Shakespeare’s Works.” Family Life in the Age of Shakespeare. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2009. 69-100. Print.