Tragic events, recently appearing in the media, can well be seen as another confirmation, of our ever-present message, that great, classical literature and art, eternally, depict mankind’s universal challenges. We have declared that this enlightened realization, is what makes great art, meaningful and referentially useful, and have consistently, recommended the reading of great literature, and participation in the arts, as mankind’s best route to acquiring wisdom and mature perspective.
The recent shooting down of a Ukrainian (Boeing, Airliner), killing all 179 passengers, [mostly Iranian] is the latest example of the historically tragic, atavistic, and useless aspiration for revenge. The previous, tactical, American killing, of a highly placed Iranian General, Qassem Soleimani, reportedly, was the motivation for the downing of the plane, mistakenly, thought to be American. The fact that many of the airline passengers, of the aircraft, destroyed by such military reprisal, were Iranian, not American, is ironic, as well as tragic; were it a play, it would be within the canon of a “revenge tragedy.”
However, the intended theme of this writing, is the ethical, and eternal dilemma, of the temporal desire for revenge, and its ultimate and complete, uselessness.
In William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” the issue of revenge, is central to the plot, but as we, ourselves, read and interpret the bard’s meaning, is dealt with, dismissively. The play, with which admirers of Shakespeare, are certainly familiar, examines the subject, and as we interpret it, subtly demonstrates, that revenge, is nothing short of, existentially, futile and useless.
It will be remembered, that the plot of Hamlet, is centered around Hamlet’s desire to exact revenge for the murder of his father, the late King of Denmark, by Claudius, the pretender to the throne, as demanded, by the ghost of his father, the murdered King,
The play, as a Shakespearean tragedy, predictably, ends badly, but, to the point of our theme, not before the famous, and, to us, meaningful, graveyard scene [“alas, poor Yorick, etc.”]. In the scene, the skull of a familiar of Hamlet’s childhood, is held up and the deceased, nostalgically and painfully, mourned and remembered.
As we perceive Shakespeare’s [electively inserted] graveyard scene, which expressly, articulates, mankind’s, virtually, imminent, mortality, one is invited to see the existential futility, of revenge, and, it’s pursuit, as a waste of precious, days, in the time-limited franchise of mankind’s life. We are of the considered opinion, that Shakespeare may be suggesting, that the ethical dilemma, posed by the wasteful, and often useless, desire for revenge, is subordinate, to our obligatory need to live life, while we still can.
According to the media reports, revenge was the obvious and admitted motive, for the intentional, downing of the erroneously chosen, [Ukrainian] Airliner, and the consequent, tragic deaths of its many innocent passengers. It was inarguably and unjustifiably, a tragic and meaningless, waste of many innocent lives, and, unfortunately, yet another cogent instance, of history repeating literature, repeating history.