William Shakespeare’s play The Tragedy of Hamlet is a magnificent piece of literature that is teeming with numerous themes. The most prominent theme brought out in this play is that revenge can consume every part of one’s life. William Shakespeare develops this theme through the use of foreshadowing. The mood that is set from the very beginning of the play prepares the reader for the obvious evils that the act of vengeance can lead to.
The play is set in Denmark and is centered on Prince Hamlet’s revenge that he seeks for the death of his father by the hand of his uncle, Claudius. Claudius killed his brother in order to gain the throne and marry Gertrude, his brother’s wife. All seems to be in favor of the deceptive pair until one night when Hamlet’s father’s ghost appears to his good friend Horatio and two castle guards, who promptly tell Hamlet. Not believing them, Hamlet waits one night on the rampart of Elsinore Castle to see for himself. He is convinced when the apparition appears and speaks to Hamlet. His father tells him of the injustice that has befallen the family and tells Hamlet to “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (I.v.25). He wants Hamlet to destroy the man who had him murdered and who married his widow. Hamlet wants to know of every detail of the crime and tells the spirit “Haste me to know’t, that I, with wings as swift/ As meditation or the thoughts of love, / May sweep to my revenge” (I.v.25-31). Hamlet promises to devote himself to this cause.
Such a rage began to brew within Hamlet from this time forward. The appearance of his father and Hamlet’s reaction foreshadows the fury and rage that is sure to follow after this scene. Slowly, as the play progresses, Hamlet becomes increasingly unstable and unpredictable.
He leads his life solely through his emotions, rather than rationality. Likewise, his behavior toward Ophelia, his...