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Revenge in Hamlet and The Revenger’s Tragedy

In this study of revenge and revengers in two Elizabethan revenge tragedies the two plays I shall look at are Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, and The Revenger’s Tragedy, by Thomas Middleton. I shall look first at the playwrights’ handling of the characters of the revengers, and then at the treatment of the revengers by other characters in the plays.

Although having similarities in their underlying themes, and in their adherence to conventions, these two plays present contrasting pictures of the figure of the revenger; Hamlet offering a far more complex treatment of its main character, and The Revenger’s Tragedy appearing, in comparison, limited by the author’s social message, and lacking in realistic characterisation.

Hamlet and Vindice, the two revengers, have in common their tasks as revengers, but they have very different methods of dealing with situations, modes of thought, and instinctual behaviour. Middleton’s Vindice is largely an allegorical character; his name and the names of other characters in The Revenger’s Tragedy (e.g. Spurio, Ambitioso) are derived from Medieval morality plays; names which suggest the quality of near-farcical exaggeration which is a feature of The Revenger’s Tragedy from the opening scene’s remarkable similarity to a procession of the Seven Deadly Sins, to Vindice’s simplistic association of lust with Judas and the Devil.

Hamlet, in contrast, is an individual with depth, who suffers from insecurity, and a sense of absurdity. As we see him at the beginning of the play he is suffering from melancholy, not only from the death of his father, but also from “the moral shock of the sudden ghostly disclosure of his mother’s true nature” (Bradley). Hamlet is psychologically real, and in my view…

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…tentions in the face of a whimsical providence.

Works Cited

Bradley, A. C., John Russell. Brown, and A. C. Bradley. A.C. Bradley on Shakespeare’s Tragedies: A Concise Edition and Reassessment. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Print.

Garber, Marjorie B. Profiling Shakespeare. New York: Routledge, 2008. Print.

Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, and Ian Johnston. On the Use and Abuse of History for Life. Arlington, VA: Richer Resources Publications, 2010. Print.

Erlich, Avi. Hamlet’s Absent Father. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1977. Print.

Middleton, Thomas. “The Revenger’s Tragedy.” 1607. Five Revenge Tragedies. Ed. Emma Smith. London: Penguin Classics, 2012. Print.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. New York: Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press, 1994.

Wilson, J. Dover “What Happens in Hamlet” New York: Cambridge University Press, 1959

Effect of Environment in There Are No Children Here

Effect of Environment in There Are No Children Here

In There are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz, the way of life in Chicago’s Henry Horner projects has a profound effect on all the residents who live there. The children become desensitized by the constant violence that they are forced to witness every day. Children are forced to walk home from school through the urban war zone of these housing projects. It is not unusual for the children to run home from school to avoid becoming casualties of the ongoing battle between rival gangs. The violence has affected Lafeyette and Pharaoh as much as anyone in the projects.

The two children are affected by the environment in completely different ways. Pharaoh, the youngest, takes his surroundings very seriously. Any time that Pharaoh can get a chance, he goes to secret places in order to be alone with his thoughts. The more violence, death, and hardship that Pharaoh is forced to witness, the more deeply he is affected.

Through the two years about which Kotlowitz writes in his book, Pharaoh develops a stutter. This stutter be…

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