hamlet tragic hero essay

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    Hamlet as a Tragic HeroWebster's dictionary defines tragedy as, "a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and asuperior force (such as destiny) and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that excites pity or terror." A tragic hero,therefore, is the character who experiences such a conflict and suffers catastrophically as a result of his choices and relatedactions. The character of Hamlet is a clear representation of Shakespeare's tragic hero, as he possesses all the necessarycharacteristics of such a hero. Hamlet is seen as a tragic hero as he has doomed others because of a serious error injudgment, also Hamlet is responsible for his own fate and Hamlet has been endowed with a tragic flaw. These charactertraits and distinctiveness make Hamlet a Tragic Hero.

    Hamlet As A Tragic HeroBy: Jack 2,431 Words December 16, 2009 628 Views

    Essay title: Hamlet As A Tragic Hero

  • Websters dictionary defines tragedy as, a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonistand a superior force (such as destiny) and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that excites pity or terror. A tragichero, therefore, is the character who experiences such a conflict and suffers catastrophically as a result of his choices andrelated actions. The character of Hamlet is a clear representation of Shakespeares tragic hero, as he possesses all thenecessary characteristics of such a hero. Hamlet is seen as a tragic hero as he has doomed others because of a seriouserror in judgment, also Hamlet is responsible for his own fate and Hamlet has been endowed with a tragic flaw. Thesecharacter traits and distinctiveness make Hamlet a Tragic Hero.

    Firstly, one of the defining traits of a tragic hero is that he or she is responsible for their own fate. Hamlet has chosen tobelieve the Ghost and attempt to prove that Claudius did, in fact, murder King Hamlet. Hamlet has chosen to invite dangerand he has chosen to put on an antic disposition. To begin, Hamlet was not totally convinced about what the Ghost haddescribed to him so Hamlet took it upon himself to prove Claudiuss guilt. For example, Ill have these playersplay something like the murder of my father before mine uncle: Ill observe his looks; Ill tent him to the quick; if hebut the blench, I know my coarse. The spirit that I have seen may be the devil: and the devil hath power to assume apleasing shape / The plays the thing wherein Ill catch the conscience of the king. (Hamlet II.ii 592-603) Hamletschemes to determine Claudius's guilt through the play. Claudius views the play and becomes very uncomfortable with thesituation to the point of stopping the play and leaving. This confirms Claudius's guilt to Hamlet, and

    Hamlet again sets out to avenge his father's death. Hamlet could have prevented much suffering by exacting his revengeearlier on in the play but Hamlet is too educated to be persuaded by a Ghost. As hamlet said The spirit that I haveseen may be the devil: and the devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape. (II.ii 596-597)

    Next, Hamlet continues to invite danger as he is in his mothers room and he stabs blindly into the curtains and killsPolonius. (Conversation between King and Hamlet) Now Hamlet, wheres Polonius? / At supper / At supper!Where? / Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certain convocation of politic worms are een at him. Your wormis your only emperor for diet: well fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots: your fat king and yourlean begat is but variable service, two dishes, but to one table: thats the end. (IV.iii 17-26) Hamlet has chosen thisfate for himself. It was his choice to hide the body from Laertes as well as the king. Hamlet knows that Laertes will belooking for him, seeking revenge for the death of his father. In addition to that, Hamlet insults the king in front of a room ofpeople. Hamlet has chosen to walk the path of danger just as Macbeth did. Macbeth was already king but he believed in theprophecy so much that he had to send three mercenaries out to kill Banquo. Macbeth also sent murders to killMacduffs wife and child. These actions were unnecessary they only draw more attention to ones wrong doings andjust as Macbeth doomed himself to demise, Hamlet is walking the same path.

    Lastly, Hamlet realizes that he cannot fulfill the wish of the Ghost unless he has evidence of his own. To do that Hamletmust devise a way where he can act in a manner in which he can investigate the king without drawing too much attentionto himself. For example, Here, as before, never, so help you mercy, How strange or odd soeer I bear myself, As Iperchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on, That you, at such times seeing me, never shall, witharms encumberd thus, or this head shack, or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase. (I.v 170-175) Hamletknows by putting on this disposition that he will be left alone and much of his behaviour will be pardoned. Elizabethansfirmly believed that the insane were touched by God and, in a sense, were revered and left to their own devices. If Hamletacts like a noble, he has no cover for his accusations, if he acts insane the behavior becomes expected by everyonearound him. In summary, Hamlet is in control of his own fate. When he believed the evil ghost, Hamlet knew that provingClaudiuss guilt would not be easy. When he hid the body of Polonius and invited the wrath of Laertes he was in controlof his own fate as well as when he put on an antic disposition to elude the attention way from his real plan.

    Another way that Hamlet fits the description of a Shakespearian tragic hero is that he has he has doomed the othersbecause of a serious

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    There is no question that the play "Hamlet is a tragedy in every respect. However, the question of whether or notHamlet portrays the role of a tragic hero, according to the definition set by Aristotle, is not as clearly defined. Strongarguments can be made for and against branding Hamlet a tragic hero. Though in the end, it seems that the evidencepoints more in the direction of Hamlet, indeed, being a tragic hero. Prince Hamlet has all the good characteristics typical ofa tragic hero and, like all other tragic heroes, even carries with him a certain flaw that leads to a tragic ending. In fact,Hamlet fills the part of the tragic hero almost perfectly.

    According to Aristotle, there is a set criteria for one to follow in order to be a tragic hero. First of all, a tragic hero willevoke both our pity and our terror, being neither completely good nor completely evil. To strengthen the tragic effect, thehero will appear "better than we are, in the sense that he is of higher than ordinary moral worth. Such a hero willhave suffered a decline from a state of happiness to one of misery, brought about by his tragic flaw, or hamartia.

    Hamlet displays all the major characteristics generally associated with a tragic hero. While the following traits were notliterally described by Aristotle, they are typical of most tragic heroes throughout literary history. First of all, Hamlet is bravein the fact that he takes a fairly large risk in departing for England with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. If his plan didn't workfor one reason or another, he was sure to be executed. In some aspects, his bravery can also be seen when Hamlet blindly

  • follows a ghost into the darkness away from the safety of the others. It is also fairly obvious that Hamlet is very loyal. Thewhole story revolves around Hamlet's loyalty to his father, and even causes him to view his mother coldly and hate his

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