For as long as we can record, literature movies and entertainment have used “Revenge” as one of the best values for creating a great story, and this is evident in the play Hamlet. Hamlet is the story of a Danish prince whose father is murdered by his uncle whom then gets married to Hamlets mother. This Is the root of the dilemma that Hamlet faces throughout the play. Hamlet Is a mysterious character and his natural Instincts are to always think things through.
He Is also very contemplative and philosophical as he breaks Into numerous soliloquies during different parts of the play. This characterization of Hamlet Is also the mall contributing factor to his flaw. Modern stories do share salary plots or revenge stories with Hamlet, some of which draw on Hamlet as an Influence. One of these modern works that can be similarly compared with Hamlet Is the film Memento directed by Christopher Nolan. This film Is also a story fueled by revenge where the main character Leonard Shelby has his own flaws that hinder his path to exact
Hamlet first learns of his Uncles actions though the appearance of a ghost. The Ghost claims to be the spirit of Hamlet’s dead father, the King. The ghost says “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” and then continues with “Murder most foul, as in the best it is; But this most foul, strange and unnatural” (Shakespeare, ACTA Scene 5). At first Hamlet seems to welcome the idea of vengeance on the murderer of his father until he finds out that he must take this vengeance out on his Uncle. This creates the dilemma and now Hamlet is a little reluctant to kill his uncle.
Hamlet must be sure that his uncle is in fact guilty of killing his father and comes up with a scheme for the truth to come to light. Hamlet knows no haste with exacting his vengeance because he is a very contemplative and philosophical individual he takes more time than most on deciding what he wants to do. Hamlet soon also discovers that his mother Gertrude had relations with his uncle before the death of his father and is highly upset that they married so soon after the king passed away. I feel as though this web of complications causes a dilemma that an be directly contributed to the flaw Hamlet has.
Most people in Hamlet’s position would take revenge for their father’s death as soon as the opportunity arises, but Hamlet goes through a much more internal conflict that postpones him from killing his uncle Claudia until the end of the play. The first of these conflicts Hamlet goes through is whether or not he trusts the ghost. The second is that his uncle Claudia is now king. Hamlet comes up with a plan to find out if the ghost is telling him the truth and if it is he will follow through with killing Claudia. Hamlet is so affected by the situation his feelings get in the way of him immediately taking revenge.
Goldstein (1980) noted “given the tremendous shock caused by his mother’s incestuous marriage with his uncle, Hamlet lapses into such a terrible state of melancholy that he is unable to rouse himself to act despite his desire to revenge his father’s murder…. Hamlet has a peculiar personality which deprives him the capacity to act” (p. 75). When Hamlet is finally sure of his father’s murder he does not exact vengeance on Claudia because Claudia is praying. Hamlet feels as though if hi kills Claudia in the midst of his prayer, his soul will go to heaven.
This is another example of how Hamlets values and his personality becomes a flaw. In the Film Memento the protagonist, Leonard Shelby experiences a home invasion where his wife is raped and murdered and he is left injured. The injury that “Ellen’ sustains is the characters main flaw. The injury causes Ellen to experience short term memory loss where he now cannot create any new memories. The last thing Ellen can remember is the murder of his wife. This memory is what fuels Ellen wrought the film to get revenge on his wife’s murderer.
Ellen investigates the murder by tattooing clues all over his body, this way he will not forget any important information due to his condition. He also takes pictures of everyone new he meets that are essential to his investigation. This revenge mystery becomes a tragedy as we learn that Ellen has already found and killed his wife’s murderer, but his condition does not allow him to remember. ((How can he know this – that he has gotten gets rid of all the evidence of his revenge and plants clues for himself to lead him onto a different direction. ((What direction is that? ) Once Lenses short term memory loss is in full affect he forgets he ever got revenge and the last memory of his wife dying drives him to look for a killer he has already found. One quote from this film that appropriately explains Lenses situation is “l have to believe in a world outside my own mind. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning, even if I can’t remember them. I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world’s still there. Do I believe the world’s still there? Is it still out there?… Yeah. We all need errors to remind ourselves who we are.
I’m no different. If we can’t make memories, we can’t heal” (Nolan, 2000). In Both the play Hamlet and the film Memento revenge is what fuels the main plot and the actions of the characters. In Hamlet the personality and characterization of the main protagonist is his flaw and obstructs him from getting revenge right away, and when he does, he ends up dying because his plan of vengeance was not well executed. In Memento Lenses flaw is that he cannot create any new memories and he is trapped in an infinite cycle of vengeance that he has already sealed.