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The first really popular revenge tragedy was The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd.It was written more than a decade before Hamlet, and it was still being performed when Hamlet was first staged.Shakespeare’s audiences would have noticed that Hamlet borrows several features from Kyd’s play, including a vengeful ghost, a play-within-a-play and a hero who goes mad.
The senseless slaying of Laertes' father causes him to resolutely take vengeance on his father's murderer.
The wartime assassination of Fortinbras' father creates a need for retribution.
Hamlet's father, murdered by Claudius, appears to him and asks for revenge.
Hamlet never totally accepts his father's challenge to seek revenge on Claudius.
In Hamlet, the hero learns the identity of his father’s murderer at the end of Act I, and he’s in a position to kill Claudius from the very beginning. While Hamlet, being a tragedy, is generally seen as a very serious play, in some ways it seems to make fun of the revenge tragedies that came before it.
No character thwarts him in his desire for revenge, and, living in the same palace as his nemesis, he has many chances to enact his plot. When Hamlet cries “Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless Villain! ” () he sounds like a sillier version of Hieronimo, the hero of The Spanish Tragedy.
William Shakespeare utilizes the reactions of Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras to explore the theme of revenge in Hamlet.
Hamlet's reaction to his father's death exemplifies the theme of revenge.
Laertes enthusiastically seeks revenge on Hamlet for killing Polonius.
Laertes is determined to seek retribution caused by anger: "I am satisfied in nature, / Whose motive in this case should stir me most / To my revenge" (246-248).