Hamlet Shakespeare Tragic Hero Essays

Essay on Hamlet as a Tragic Hero in William Shakespeare's Play

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Hamlet as a Tragic Hero in William Shakespeare's Play

According to the Aristoltelian view of tragedy, a tragic hero must fall through his own error. This is typically called "the tragic flaw" and can be applied to any characteristic that causes the downfall of a hero. Hamlet can be seen as a aristotelian tragedy and hamlet as its tragic hero.

Hamlet's flaw, which in accordance with Aristotle's principles of tragedy causes demise, is his inability to act. This defect of hamlet's character is displayed throughout the play.

In the opening scences of the play, the ghost of old hamlet reveals the truth about his death to his son, and tells hamlet to avenge the murder. Hamlet's first response is…show more content…

This simply gives hamlet more excuse to procrastinate (he gets to put off killing clauduis) until after the play which he has set up.

Once he knows the truth, we feel his anger in his soliliquy, "Now could I drink hot blood" which makes the audience feel this time he is determined to take revenge, but yet again he gets put off, when claudius starts confessing, and saying how bad he feels "help, angels, make assay." Hamlet doesn't want to kill him when he is confessing he wants to kill him when he done something wrong, so he has a reason to, "when he is drunk asleep, or in his rage, or th'incectuous pleasure of his bed."

Another tragic flaw is the fact that he is so obsessive about his mother and uncle sleeping together, more so then his fathers death, as he always puts that first when talking "thou incestous, murderous." This could just be that he is so upset by the fact she loves another man now, but not any man "married with my uncle, my fathers brother" that really puts into perspective the way he says that. He is very hooked up on the fact that its "incestuous" really putting the point in it's a family member.

He mentions some disgusting images, "rank sweatâ?¦nasty sty" which upsets gertrude, which he wants, he wants to make her regret it, "no more."

A tragic hero also needs a fall from grace, which hamlet also has. We know

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Is Hamlet a tragic hero? In many senses, Hamlet is the quintessential tragic hero. Not only does he begin with the noblest motivations (to punish his father’s murderer) but by the end, his situation is do dire that the only plausible final act should be his death. Like the classical tragic hero, Hamlet does not survive to see the full outcome of his actions and more importantly, this is because he possesses a tragic flaw. While there are a number of flaws inherent to his character, it is Hamlet’s intense identification with and understanding of the power of words and language that ultimately bring about his requisite tragic ending. Hamlet’s deep connection with language and words causes him to base his perceptions of reality on his interpretation and understanding of words and he allows himself to become overwrought with creating meaning. As this thesis statement for Hamlet suggests, eventually, his own words and philosophical internal banter are his end since being a highly verbose and introspective man, this is both one of his greatest gifts as well as his tragic flaw.

Hamlet fits several into several of the defining traits of a tragic hero in literature, particularly in terms of how he possesses a tragic flaw. The fact that Hamlet’s best trait is also his downfall (his tragic flaw, in other words) makes him a prime candidate for a tragic hero and in fact, makes him one of the most tragic figures in the works of Shakespeare in general. More specifically, what makes Hamlet even more of a tragic hero is that his actions and tragic flaw is not his fault. He is an introspective character and in a normal situation, this might not be a problem. However, being part of the royal family makes him prone to negative and stressful situations and thus his engagement with words to level in which he is almost crippled is absolutely tragic, even if it is not because of anything he had overtly done. For Hamlet, the power of language and words are the key to both the driving action of the play as well its outcome as all characters have somehow been affected by poisoned words. In many senses, each character’s sense of reality has been created and shaped because of their relationship to language and words, often to tragic ends and for this reason, it becomes clear that his fascination with language is part of his tragic flaw as a character. The reader of this play by Shakespeare is offered some degree of foreshadowing when the ghost of Hamlet’s father states, in one of the important quotes from Hamletthat Claudius has poisoned “the whole ear of Denmark" with his words. Although the reader is not aware of it yet, words will drive the action of the play. For instance, it is not necessarily Hamlet’s actions toward Ophelia that are part of what drives her to suicide, but his words. He, like other men in the play, scolds her like a child, telling her she should enter a nunnery instead of becoming a “breeder of sinners" (III.i.122-123). While he may have simply ignored her or shunned her in a more physical manner, instead he uses the power of words to act as daggers.

Unlike many of the other characters in the play, Hamlet understands fully his skill with words and language and he uses this, above all, to achieve his ends. His exchanges with Ophelia are just one example of his use of language to lead toward a desired result. For example, it is not simply his reaction to his mother that drives that their relationship, but his skillful use of words and language. At one point, Hamlet recognizes his power with words and tells the audience, as if recognizing this to be his tragic flaw “I will speak daggers to her, but use none" (III.ii.366). The idea that words are equal with daggers is a central idea in this text and it is also noticeable how Hamlet’s belief in the power of language makes others believe it as well, especially those who are full of words, but who speak only hollow vapid sentences such as Polonius or Claudius, who actually makes the statement while praying that “my words fly up, my thoughts remain below" (II.iii.96). The idea expressed here is that he is always speaking but is not using language to his benefit—even when it is in supplication to God. The characters in Hamlet by Shakespeare who are not as adept at weaving reality through language are not as sharp as Hamlet and as the play continues, one notices that the power of words is truly equivalent to that of the dagger.

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