Revenge as a main in theme in Hamlet.
Someone once stated, "Revenge proves its own executioner". It has caused the downfall of many people throughout history, for its consuming nature causes one to act recklessly through anger rather than reason. In Shakespeare's most famous tragedy, Hamlet, this dominant theme of revenge saturates the play and is the manipulative influence behind the actions that make the play a tragedy. In discussing Hamlet and its themes, Patrick Cruttwell describes Hamlet as being " almost nothing but an embodiment of revenge" ("Patrick" 235), which ends in the deaths of almost everyone involved.
Usually, revenge is seen as an easily rationalized emotion; one turn deserves another. On paper, it seems a simple and easy task to carry out, but the actions of Hamlet and the problems that arise as he attempts to avenge his father's murder prove otherwise. .
The ghost of Hamlet's father, the old King, introduces the first ideas of vengeance into Hamlet's mind. The ghost tells Hamlet that he was wrongfully killed at the hands of his traitorous brother, the present King Claudius. He urges Hamlet that he must take revenge for his murder and kill Claudius, and says, "If thou didst ever thy father love/.Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder" (I.v: 29, 31). With these words, the ghost puts the play in motion, for the rest of the story will be governed by Hamlet's quest for revenge. But for Hamlet, this is not such an easy undertaking. He sees revenge as his moral obligation, but external obstacles and inner conflicts prevent him from carrying it out successfully. Hamlet delays his revenge of his father's death not because he is a coward but because his psychological feelings and need for a perfect revenge cause him to delay in order to wait for the perfect moment to kill Claudius.
Before Hamlet can even begin to enact a plot to kill Claudius, he must first have proof that he is in fact a murderer.