Although "Hamlet" is classified as a revenge play, it is a widely acknowledged fact that in this work Shakespeare consciously challenges the traditional revenge genre unlike any other play before it. The theme of revenge in plays has always been a popular one, and the basic structure and components possessed by plays of this genre had been well established by the time Shakespeare wrote "Hamlet." It is obvious through previous revenge themed plays such as "Titus Andronic" that Shakespeare was more than capable of producing a play that adhered to these expected genre conventions, and so one can assume that "Hamlet" is not a 'failed' attempt at a revenge tragedy, but rather a deliberate confrontation of the genre. It is because of this that I agree with the statement that "Hamlet" disrupts and destabilizes audience expectations of what a traditional revenge drama should be.
"Hamlet" begins much the same as any other previous revenge play, with the visits from the ghost of King Hamlet and his requests of Hamlet to avenge his death. King Hamlet tells his son he has been murdered by his brother Claudius, "cut off even in the blossoms of my sin, unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled, no reckoning made, but sent to my account with all my imperfections on my head" and is now condemned to purgatory. However instead of taking immediate, violent action as would have been expected by the audience, Hamlet spends the bulk of the play pondering whether or not to take action at all, and if so, when and how to do so. At this point, a typical protagonist would usually react with a prompt and passionate quest for revenge, and the play would follow their struggle to achieve this justice, or the repercussions that come from doing so. In "Hamlet", Shakespeare actively rejects this expected plot line and focuses instead on Hamlet's delay and struggle to take action, as opposed to the actual act of vengeance.