Revenge and Treachery in Hamlet Essay

Revenge is defined as a harmful action against a person or group as a response to a real or perceived grievance. Along side with revenge, treachery is defined as an act of deliberate betrayal. Both these ideas are central throughout the play, specifically within the extract Act IV Scene vii. It is evident that through language techniques such as; tone and satire, meaning and emotion can be conveyed. Throughout the extract it can be said that there are various tones that are able to convey a type of emotion to the reader.

This is seen in line 53, where the king degrades hamlet through the emphasis on the word ‘naked’, this is an example of a condescending tone. It is through this tone that the reader is able to clearly examine the king’s feelings towards Hamlet, and how he believes he is destitute. Another example of the juxtaposition between tone and meaning is in lines 64-80, where the King displays his feelings of such hatred once again towards hamlet to Laertes. Here an acerbic tone is used due to the bitterness that is portrayed by the king. Lines 99-100 where the king says; ‘Laertes was your father dear to you?

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Or are you like the painting of a sorrow, a face without a heart? ’ this exemplifies how sly the king is and shows the act of treachery. He reminds Laertes of the wrong done by Hamlet by killing his father and plots the plan into his head making Laertes dwell on the event of death and revenge. Line 111 demonstrates how devious the king is capable of being in saying ‘revenge should have no bounds’. A clear sense of detestation is represented in these words, meaning that no matter how far the king must go in order to achieve true revenge, he sets no limits.

These boundless grounds also include death as an option, which is the death of Hamlet. It is evident that through language, meaning can be conveyed. By showing a display of dogmatic, acerbic and satire tones the audience are able to relate to the characters, showing feelings of empathy or hatred towards them. It is through the King that Laertes is forced to take revenge upon Hamlet in the form of murder, however Laertes is made to believe the King is thinking of Laertes not his throne. Subsequently the king deliberately betrays hamlet and Laertes through the revenge achieved by Laertes.


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