On it’s most basic level, Hamlet by William Shakespeare, is a story of revenge. Revenge, though important to plot of the play, is not the main theme of the story. Through Hamlets plea for “flesh to melt” with melancholy along side the grief of his father suspicious death, the jealousy and motivation of the Ghost of Old Hamlet, and Hamlets need to earn his fathers love and approval, Hamlet is the telling of a man who is taken advantage of by his fathers ghost, and used by that ghost, to exact revenge on he who wronged him.
Hamlet, the young Prince of Denmark, stands distant, from the crowd that is full of glee and celebration, garbed in the what reflects his mood of disgust and melancholy for the situation he is in, black. Hamlets macabre, is brought on by the grief for his father. While speaking to his school mate Horatio, the grief and longing for his father is clear in Act 1, Scene 2 “...I shall not look upon his like again.” Hamlet longs for his father, “look” and “like again” are diction specifically used to transfer to the reader that Hamlet longs to see his father, and it could be inferred that maybe by seeing him, by having closure ( for Hamlet was away when his father passed) he will be able to let this grief go, to see his like again would cure his heavy heart.
This is not to say grief is Hamlets only issue. Hamlet from his first soliloquy , is evident of a clear mental instability. “O, that this too too slid flesh would melt,.... Or that Everlasting had not fixed His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter. O God, God,” Hamlet is clearly speaking of suicide “not fixed His canon ‘gainst self slaughter” Basically saying, if only I wouldn't go to hell if I kill myself. By repeating “too too” and “God God” in Act 1 Scene 4 he is pleading for God to either, Melt his flesh, or make this suffering end. This plea for death and end suffering is crystal clear evidence of an unstable and vulnerable mind. His need for the suffering to end, for something to take this pain and confusion away from him, is what creates this vulnerability, and that vulnerability mixed with Hamlets grief, wielded correctly and by the right being could be used to do things one could not do from Hell fires and sleepless nights.
Hamlet with his grief and vulnerability, has heard from his trusted companion, Horatio, that a ghost who looks to be the Old King Hamlet is appearing among the walls at night, Hamlet, in his longing for his father and grief about his death, takes it upon himself to speak to this ghost. When seeing the ghost of his father, Hamlet begs the Ghost to speak, the Ghost opens with telling Hamlet to listen very carefully ( like a father to a confused child) and states in first real lines of Act 1 Scene 5“ So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.” To do revenge when you hear what I have to tell you, the ghost has already planted the seeds of manipulation and intention with his opening lines, going straight to what the Ghost wants to accomplish, even though Hamlet doesn't fully understand why his fathers ghost has said revenge, from now till the end of the speech, that notion of “ revenge” will be hanging over him, guiding him toward his actions. “ [Hamlet] May sweep to my revenge. [Ghost] I find thee apt.” Hamlet, after hearing his father speak about death, and him being murdered, his reaction is to do revenge. Revenge that, if not stated by the Ghost prior, probably would not have been the idea of Hamlet, for being a student, for being a proper gentleman, revenge is not an idea, to pay blood with blood, Hamlet, clearly a thinker, would not just rush to something like that, but under the circumstances of his mental state, and the grief over his fathers death, and now founding out that he was murdered, only heightens his instability, and makes the idea of revenge possible, even justifiable. “ I find thee apt” that is the Ghosts answer. “ I find thee apt” is the Ghost