Revenge and Vengeance

Hamlet Wants to Avenge His Father

 In Act One, Hamlet sees his father's ghost for the first time and discovers that his father was murdered by Claudius. Hamlet is motivated by this news to seek revenge on his father's murderer, his very own uncle. The news sparks his anger throughout the rest of the play and causes his tremendous distress towards everyone close to him. Meanwhile, Fortinbras is busy preparing his army to takeover lands that he believes are rightfully his since their were his father's before he died to avenge his father.


 In scene one, Fortinbras's activity with his army starts to cause a disturbance in Denmark. In lines 112-119 Horatio says of Fortinbras, "That hath a stomach in 't; which no other (As it doth well appear unto our state) But to recover of us, by strong hand And terms compulsatory, those forsaid lands So by his father lost. And this, I take it, Is the main motive of our preparations, The source of this our watch and the chief head Of this posthaste and rummage in the land." What he means is that Fortinbras is on the move taking over lands that his deceased father once had control over but were taken away by other men when he died and his actions are causing a commotion all over Denmark. Fortinbras feels that it's his duty to avenge his father and regain the lands to honor him.


 Like Fortinbras, Hamlet also wants to honor his father by doing to Claudius what he did to King Hamlet. He reasons that by killing Claudius he will be serving justice and making his father proud of him. As of now in this act, he is not acting yet or making a finalized plan for his revenge, so much as he is just fuming that he was murdered by his uncle who is now the King and deeply distressed. In scene five Hamlet says, "Haste me to know't that I, with wings as swift As meditation or the thoughts of love, may sweep to my revenge." He is claiming his purpose and determination to seek vengeance "swiftly" with quick decision making and action because it his duty as a son and a sign of his love for his father to please him.