Hamlet Sample Answer & Notes: Revenge and Justice

This question on Hamlet came up on the 2011 Higher Level English Paper 2:

“Revenge and justice are finely balanced themes in the play, Hamlet.” 

Discuss this statement, supporting your answer with suitable reference to the text. 

The marking scheme directs examiners to reward reference to 
- contrasting approaches to justice/revenge of Hamlet, Fortinbras and Laertes, 
- symbols and imagery, 
- Hamlet's soliloquies, 
- poetic justice (a literary device in which ultimately virtue is rewarded and vice punished),
- Ophelia's role and 
- comment on whether justice has or hasn't been served at the end of the tragedy.
The plot of Shakespeare's Hamlet is charged with a compulsion for revenge. A usurper kills the noble king and seizes the throne, while the rightful heir is burdened with the fate to avenge his father and re-establish justice in his father’s kingdom. Within Hamlet’s most quoted soliloquy the reader witnesses his agonising search for the meaning of justice: to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them.


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All notes are printable.
Shakespeare's tragedies invariably portray a noble, yet flawed main character in a difficult situation and end in his/her death.
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Complete Guide: A1 Leaving Cert English Notes and Sample Answers 2017

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Leaving Cert English Sample Essay and Notes



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