Hamlet: A Unique Revenge Play

Hamlet is a popular revenge tragedy in English by William Shakespeare. So far as the revenge drama is concerned, it has a very long history. The early seeds of the revenge drama can be seen in a trilogy named Oresteian composed by great Aeschylus in the 5th century BC. But about five century later in the mid-1st century CE Roman philosopher Seneca laid a strong foundation of revenge drama. Seneca's Thyestes is identified as the first revenge drama that highlights the revenge theme.

The revenge play appeares as a favourite form of English tragedy in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras and finds its highest expression in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. On the English stage the revenge drama is established by Thomas Kyd with his The Spanish Tragedy in the late 16th century. Other notable revenge plays in English literature are- John Marston’s Antonio’s Revenge, George Chapman’s Revenge of Bussy d’Ambois, Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Henry Chettle’s The Tragedy of Hoffman, Thomas Middleton’s The Revenger’s Tragedy and John Webster’s Duchess of Malfi.

Hamlet is the finest of all the plays in the English revenge tragedies. It is the very serious and unique. The characters of this play are like real people of today. Later writers tried to follow Shakespeare but no one could imitate the character of Hamlet. Hamlet is unique and it stands alone.


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