Revenge in Hamlet and Frankenstein
Dictionary.com states that revenge is “to exact punishment or expiation for a wrong on behalf of, especially in a resentful or vindictive spirit.” The novel, Frankenstein, and the play, Hamlet, are two works of literature that revolve around the notion of revenge. The main conflicts of the stories are Prince Hamlet attempting to avenge the murder of his father and Frankenstein’s monster hunting down Victor Frankenstein for abandoning him in an empty and lonely existence. The novels use other themes to tie together the underlying theme of revenge, such as death, madness, and learning and “un-learning.”
Death is a source that fuels the yearning for revenge in both stories. Prince Hamlet is obviously pushed to revenge when he figures out
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In Act II, Scene 2, Hamlet acts crazed to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern by likening Denmark to a prison, talking about his dreams, openly accusing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of spying repeatedly, and even casually claiming that he is going mad. One of my personal favorite lines from this section is when Hamlet states, “I am but mad north-northwest: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.” (Act II, Scene 2, p.53) Here Hamlet is shamelessly admitting his insanity while also proving that his madness does not necessarily make him any less acute. Also, Hamlet is sure to spread his madness over Ophelia during their encounters, from the bedroom scene (where Hamlet sneaks up on Ophelia in her bedroom but does not say a word to her) to the famous “get thee to a nunnery” scene. Ophelia, Polonius, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern all report Hamlet’s madness accordingly, as Hamlet wanted.
The premise of revenge in Frankenstein revolves around the theory of madness. Victor Frankenstein is a mad man; he shuns away all human contact and disregards his own health to create unnatural life, which he then abandons. His own insanity creates the monster, who ultimately ends up murdering Victor’s loved ones to break him down entirely.
“I know not by what chain of thought the idea presented itself, but it instantly darted into my mind that the murderer had come to mock at my misery, and taunt me with the death of [Henry] Clerval, as a new incitement for me to comply