In society today revenge is something that is not widely accepted. For example, if one's father is murdered it is not kosher for the son to in turn murder the person who killed his father. However, in Elizabethan society this mindless act was expected of all. Revenge was a key part of Elizabethan society.
For example, in the play Hamlet three characters, Fortinbras, Laertes, and Hamlet, encounter many obstacles in which they all must seek revenge. During the Elizabethan time period revenge was a normal part of every day life and it was expected of everyone. Prince Fortinbras of Norway seeks revenge upon Prince Hamlet. His passion for revenge is fueled by his father's death.
King Hamlet killed King Fortinbras in battle. Prince Fortinbras feels that he must avenge his father's death anyway possible. The only person that Prince Fortinbras can take revenge upon is Prince Hamlet because King Hamlet is also dead. Prince Fortinbras' revenge is somewhat different than the eye for an eye concept. He decides to reclaim Denmark and go to war with Poland but first he must sign a peace treaty to enter Denmark.
Finally, Prince Fortinbras gets his revenge when Prince Hamlet dies. Prince Hamlet gives Norway back and he appoints Fortinbras to the throne. "The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit. I cannot live to hear the news from England, But I do prophesy th' election lights On Fortinbras.
He has my dying voice. So tell him, with th' occur ents, more and less, Which have solicited-the rest is silence." (Ham. V. ii. 333-338). This is how Fortinbras avenges his father's death.
He simply reclaims the lands in which he feels entitled too and along with that he takes the throne. Laertes the son of Polonius seeks revenge upon Prince Hamlet for killing his father. Despite the fact that Polonius' death was accidental Laertes refuses to give up his quest for vengeance. Prince Hamlet had accidentally stabbed Polonius while talking privately with his mother. He had expected that the person hiding behind the hanging rug was Claudius. His plan to kill Prince Hamlet is concocted along with King Claudius.
The plan involves a duel between Laertes and Hamlet. The duel, however, is unjustly planned. Laertes will use an unbated sword with a poisoned tip. Also, a poisoned goblet is staged in case the poisoned rapier does not hit Prince Hamlet. Laertes plan is not fair at all but after he too is hit by the anointed sword he apologizes to Prince Hamlet. "It is a poison tempered by himself.
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet. Mine and my father's death come not upon thee, Nor thine on me!" (Ham. V. ii.
308-311). Laertes way avenging his father's death was in no way shape for form right or fair. However, it was accepted during that time. Prince Hamlet, the son of King Hamlet yearns for vengeance of his father's murder. The murder of King Hamlet was in no way accidental. King Hamlet was murdered by his brother Claudius.
Claudius killed his brother by secretly pouring poison in his ear while he was sleeping. Claudius then married his brother's widow Gertrude. This all together infuriated Prince Hamlet. Prince Hamlet had encountered his father's ghost but was reluctant to believe that it was his dead father telling him to in turn murder Claudius. Prince Hamlet decided to have the whole court watch a play, which re-enacted his father's grueling death.
He would know that the ghost was telling the truth if Claudius somehow proclaimed his guilt while witnessing the murder scene. Luckily, Claudius became nervous and ran out of the room. Prince Hamlet had his evidence. His first though to kill Claudius occurred while Claudius was praying. Prince Hamlet decided not to, only because he was afraid that Claudius's our would go to heaven.
During the duel between Laertes, Gertrude, Prince Hamlet's mother drinks from the potion and warns her son not to drink it. Prince Hamlet then stabs Claudius with the unbated sword. Ironically, Prince Hamlet makes Claudius drink the poison that was actually intended for him. "Here, thou incestuous, mud " rous, damned Dane, Drink off this potion.
Is thy union here? Follow my mother." (Hamlet. V. ii. 304-306). Prince Hamlet's way of seeking revenge is justified in more way than one. Not only did Claudius murder his father; he also married his brother's wife and planned to murder Prince Hamlet more than once.
Seeking revenge during the Elizabethan time period was widely accepted. Avenging someone's death in all three cases was not always justified. In Fortinbras' case his means of revenge was justified. He did not harm anyone to get what he wanted, and in the end he retrieved his lands and the throne. Laertes was of revenge was not justified. He simply lied and cheated to avenge his father's death.
In the end he ended up dying and contributing to the death of Claudius, Gertrude, and Prince Hamlet. Prince Hamlet's revenge was more than justified. He had many justifiable reasons to kill Claudius. Claudius murdered his father, married his brother's wife and planned to kill Prince Hamlet more than once. In conclusion, revenge was widely accepted and tolerated during the Elizabethan time period. Even though it was not always justified it was always a normal part of every day life.
In fact it was expected. Now, in this society an eye for an eye is not tolerated. Revenge these days is to be handled by a judge or by someone with higher power.