According to Webster's, "Revenge" means to inflict punishment in return for injury or insult (1245). Throughout the history of literature, the theme of "Revenge" has been used to portray a critical moment in a character's life. The outcomes that result are often devastating and mostly, in one way or another, fatal. A Revenge Tragedy is a drama in which the dominant motive is revenge for real or imagined injury. Most Revenge Tragedies end with a scene of carnage that disposes of the avenger as well as his victims (Britannica 538). Revenge Tragedy is a dramatic form made popular on the English stage by Thomas Kyd, a contemporary of Shakespeare, whose Spanish Tragedy is an early example of this type. Such a play calls for the revenge of a father by a son or vice versa, an act that is initiated by the murdered man's ghost. Other devices found in a Revenge Tragedy include hesitation by the hero, real or feigned madness, suicide, intrigue, and murders on stage (Girard 160). Without a doubt, the play Hamlet, can be classified as a Revenge Tragedy. It has all of the credentials that are needed to fulfill the requirements in order for it to be recognized as a Revenge Tragedy. "The play is, in effect, as much about revenge drama as about revenge itself or about Hamlet"(Ray 277). The essence of any tragedy of revenge is that its hero has not created the situation in which he finds himself and out of which the tragedy arises (Gale 225). .
Therefore, "Revenge" is a major theme in Hamlet because this theme is developed throughout the entire play and through many characters. For example, Hamlet avenges his father's death; Laertes seeks revenge on Hamlet for killing his father and abusing his sister; and Claudius seeks revenge on Hamlet because he is aware that Hamlet knows who has killed his father. Thus, the theme of "Revenge" is repeatedly used throughout the play Hamlet. .
Although many people seek revenge in Hamlet, by far the most important and stressed revenge is that which is sought by Hamlet himself.