2″Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3″ so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”( Ephesians 6). In Hamlet, Shakespeare tells a heart-wrenching story of three sons looking to fulfil their honour for their deceased fathers.
This play also addresses how characters struggle with honour themselves and how they have internal conflict surrounding the issue. Throughout the play Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras all have parallel situations on how to seek restitution for the death of each of their fathers.First, Hamlet and his father had an amazing relationship. Hamlet was a very honourable son and would do anything for his father. Claudias in the play murders King Hamlet and takes the throne. Shortly after he marries Hamlet’s mother and becomes his father. This infuriates Hamlet because Claudias is far from an honourable man and his mother has no respect for her previous husband. To seek restitution for his father, Hamlet plans to kill Claudias and succeeds at the end of the play.
Second, Laertes is cursed with the same problem as Hamlet; a father that has been wrongly killed. As the play goes on we learn that Hamlet unknowingly murdered Laertes father. This causes Laertes to seek out and Kill Hamlet to take back what is his. Third, and the last parallel situation is when Fortinbras and Hamlet’s father fought to the death over land. Hamlet’s father was the victor in this battle.
This caused Fortinbras to grow an obsession with regaining the land to honour his deceased father. Fortinbras would do anything to try and gain the land that used to be his fathers, even if it was basically worth nothing. Comparing the three stories of all these devoted sons, all of them would agree with what Fortinbras says in Act 4 because they are all on the same quest “Whose divine ambition is to fight for honour’s sake”. In my opinion, the characters go well beyond just honouring their father’s. They murdered others just to have justice served to their enemies. Since Hamlet is not based on Christian values they technically did bring honour to their father’s name and became heroes in the play. If we wanted to use this story as a life lesson, we should first take a look at Romans 12: 17-21 “17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”a says the Lord.
20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. This would be applied as an afterthought to the play, by spreading the message you do not bring honour by murder. Instead, you bring honour to God let him seek matters into his own hands as one day he will reign his wrath on his enemies.