Hamlet the tragic hero
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is one of the most famous tragedies. Hamlet, the main character in the story, is also a well-known tragic figure. The story of Hamlet begins with Horatio and a group guards seeing King Hamlet’s ghost. Horatio then tells Hamlet all about the ghost and the ghost tells Hamlet that Claudius (now king) killed him.
The ghost instructs Hamlet that he must kill Claudius to avenge his father’s death, but not to hurt Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother. Hamlet embarks on a mission for revenge against his father. However, he must determine the best time to kill Claudius.
This is one of the factors that causes Hamlet to become insane. Hamlet demands that Claudius admits his guilt before Hamlet murders him. Hamlet then finds a theatre group to stage a play about how Claudius killed King Hamlet.
Claudius’s reaction to the play confirms Hamlet’s suspicions. However, when Hamlet believed he was killing Claudius he actually kills Polonius who is an advisor to the king. Ophelia, Hamlet’s ex-love interest, becomes agitated when this happens.
Laertes is Ophelia’s brother and is disgusted at what Hamlet did to his family. But Hamlet leaves England before the fight takes place and Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Guildenstern follow him.
Ophelia kills herself in the woods by a creek. Laertes believes that Hamlet may have been responsible. Laertes and Hamlet are both stabbed in the stomach by the poisonous sword during the sword fight. Gertrude, Claudius and Claudius also drink poison from the cup.
Hamlet’s tragedies and deaths are what make the play a tragedy. Hamlet is also known as a tragic hero, because he exhibits the characteristics of a tragic heroine: he is a high-ranking person who violates a law, he causes harm to society, and he is a threat to society.
Hamlet’s first characteristic of a tragic hero is his high rank and violation of laws. Hamlet is the Prince and Princess of Denmark. His father was his father’s heir, but his mother remarried, removing Hamlet from the chance to be king.
Because Hamlet is the Prince of Denmark, many Danish people love and respect Hamlet. Ophelia is even told by Laertes how high Hamlet is in rank. He cannot even marry anyone he likes.
He cannot, like unvalued people, make his own decisions; the safety and well-being of the whole state depends on his choices. His choice must be limited to the voice and the yielding of the body whereof he the head” (1.3.20-20). Hamlet discovers that Claudius murdered his father and vows to revenge his father’s death by murdering Claudius.
Hamlet becomes agitated while trying to figure out the best time and way to kill Claudius. Hamlet, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern are sent to England by Hamlet, as part of their revenge plotting. Hamlet also has them sentenced, which is yet another example of Hamlet breaking the law.
Hamlet accidentally kills Polonius while trying to kill Claudius. This is a violation of a law and Hamlet can be considered a tragic hero. Hamlet also kills Claudius and Laertes, thus he violates the law multiple times throughout the play. This shows that Hamlet is a tragic hero, even though a high-ranking person may have broken a law.
Hamlet also displays the traits of a tragic hero by posing a threat to society, causing suffering to others and violating laws. Hamlet, as we have already stated, kills many people to make himself a tragic hero. These crimes cause many victims to Hamlet, including Ophelia and Gertrude, Claudius and Gertrude, Claudius and Horatio and Polonius and Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, as well as Gertrude and Gertrude.
Hamlet makes Ophelia go insane after her father’s murder, which in this case Hamlet was the victim. Ophelia committed suicide due to her madness, which left Gertrude and Laertes with severe pain. Laertes, a victim of the death of his sister and father, fights Hamlet. However, he is also killed which causes Laertes pain.
Claudius also suffers from Hamlet’s guilt over the performance of the theatre group. Hamlet also kills Claudius which is against the law and makes Claudius suffer. Hamlet’s actions cause Horatio pain because he must deal with Hamlet’s madness, problems, and drags him into the enormous mess that is Elsinore’s royal family.
Hamlet’s actions are responsible for Polonius’ death, and his suffering. Hamlet makes Rosencrantz, Guildenstern suffer as he is responsible for their deaths. He changes a death sentence to include their names.
Hamlet believes that Rosencrantz was playing him for a while. “Sblood, do your think I am more easy to be played upon than a pipe?” You can fret me but you cannot play upon my body, so call me what instrument you want (3.2.399-402). After Hamlet receives a letter threatening him with death, he alters the letter to state that Rosencrantz or Guildenstern will be sentencing him instead. Hamlet is a danger to society because of his crimes and actions.
Hamlet the tragic hero: Hamlet’s fatal flaw
Aristotle says that a tragic hero must have an insidious flaw. Hamlet’s tragic flaw, according to Aristotle is his inability to act or indecisiveness. His own self-analysis is what causes him to be upset. This fatal flaw can lead to unintended consequences. Hamlet, for example, halted his attempt to kill Claudius, Claudius’ father.
Claudius was reportedly praying at the time. Hamlet claims that he would have reached heaven if he had killed Claudius while praying. Act III Scene VI also shows Hamlet discussing with his mother how he had killed Polonius and suspected it to be his uncle Claudius. Ophelia, deeply grieved at the loss of her father, committed suicide.
When we consider all of these events from a more mature perspective, we can see that if Hamlet had killed Claudius sooner, Hamlet would have already vengeance his father’s death. Thus, Polonius, who Hamlet killed, and Ophelia, his daughter, would have survived. Hamlet, besides all this, would be able to live a happy life. The tragic flaw in Hamlet makes him a tragic hero.
Hamlet the tragic hero: Conflict is the essence of a tragic hero
A tragic hero must have conflict as a key characteristic. Tragic heroes such as King Lear and Brutus, Othello and Hamlet face both internal and external conflicts. Hamlet’s inner conflict lies between his moral principles and his obligation to take revenge. Hamlet’s attachment to his father and his disgraceful mother Gertrude and the double-dealing of Claudius, his uncle, encourage him to seek revenge. However, his morality and integrity resist such inhuman actions. Hamlet suffers psychological torture and breaks down.
When we think about Hamlet’s major external conflict, it’s with Claudius, his uncle. Claudius, Hamlet believes, is a murderer and seducer, who also married Hamlet’s mother and a usurper of Denmark’s crown head. Hamlet is determined to take revenge against Claudius for all of these reasons.
Also, we can see Hamlet’s conflict with Laertes. Laertes feels a little bit of hatred for Hamlet after he discovers that Ophelia, his sister, has some connection to Hamlet. When he discovers that Hamlet has killed his father, Laertes’ hatred of him becomes violent. These internal and external conflicts are what make a tragic hero.
Hamlet the tragic hero: A tragic hero’s self-realization
In tragedy, often the hero discovers a truth that he didn’t know or was unaware of. Hamlet experiences a shift in perception, self-realization, and growth. Hamlet’s transformation is too late to stop his fall.
Hamlet’s self-realization begins with him brooding over the performer’s speech on Hecuba. It continues with the bedroom scene, and reaches its peak in the scene with the grave-diggers. Hamlet declares that “the ready is all” in the gravedigger scene (William Shakespeare and Hamlet).
This self-realization of the hero was called “anagnorisis” by Aristotle. Hamlet, in all cases, was able to achieve his primary goal – to kill his father’s murderer.
Hamlet’s tragedy: The role of fate and chance
You could argue that Hamlet’s personality is not the only thing that led to his downfall. External circumstances are also responsible for making Hamlet a tragic hero. It is a case of luck that the Ghost arrived in Hamlet’s form as his father.
Many other events that occur in Hamlet’s lifetime are accidental. It was an accident that Hamlet returned to Denmark, as well as Polonius’s killing and attack by pirates.
Chance and fate have an impact on Hamlet’s life as well as the lives of his characters. However, this does not mean that fate or chance alone are responsible for Hamlet’s tragedy. It is ultimately Hamlet who is responsible.
Hamlet | Quotes
O… that the Everlasting hadn’t fix’d/His canon was ‘gainst self-slaughter
Act 1, Scene 2
Hamlet just learned that his mother has remarried to her brother in law. Hamlet feels this is an act of incestuous behavior and a betrayal by his father. Hamlet is considering suicide for the first time in his life. However, he notes that religion prohibits him from doing so.
- Denmark is suffering from something.
Marcellus, after seeing King Hamlet’s ghost notes that there must be something very terrible going on if the ghost of the king has returned to haunt the country. At this time, it is unclear if the ghost of King Hamlet (who is wearing full armor) has returned for political or personal reasons.
- One can smile and become a villain, or smile and smile.
Act 1, Scene 5
This soliloquy places the blame on Claudius (for his father’s death) and Claudius (for his mother’s betrayal by marrying too soon).
- it’s amazing how strange or unusual I find it.
Act 1, Scene 5
Hamlet intends to pretend that he has gone mad to avoid being accused of killing his uncle. This line raises a question: Is Hamlet really mad or is he pretending to be mad?
- What an ass! I/… Must like a whore to unpack my heart using words.
Act 2, Scene 2
Hamlet’s greatest flaw is his inability act quickly to make amends for his father’s death. He prefers to think and analyze than to act. This is a flaw that he recognizes and chastises. However, it will take him the whole play to make it work.
- One possibility is that the spirit I saw could be a devil.
Act 2, Scene 2
Hamlet describes his reasoning for his inaction. He isn’t sure if the ghost he has seen is his father or if he is being tricked. Hamlet loves to analyze and is more inclined to think than act.
- It is up to you to decide whether or not you want to be.
This is Hamlet’s most famous line in the play. He asks whether it is better to suffer or die. This allows the audience to gain a great understanding of Hamlet’s emotional struggles.
- You should not go until I give you a glass/Where the innermost parts of you can be seen.
Act 3, Scene 4
Hamlet demands that Gertrude look in the mirror at her sins after an argument with his mother. But Gertrude misinterprets this outburst, believing he is going for her death. Polonius immediately intervenes to save Gertrude and Hamlet, mistakenly believing that he is Claudius, kills him. Hamlet’s character is now irreversible.
- Sith, I have cause and will and strength and the means to do so.
Act 4, Scene 4
Hamlet is finally freed from his exile in England and undergoes the transformation that he had been waiting for. He realizes that man is born to act and is now motivated to take revenge on his father’s death.
- The rest is silence.
Act 5, Scene 2
These are Hamlet’s final words before his death. Horatio has just heard all of it and Hamlet accepts that death is inevitable. He has thought about how he was the great equalizer. His final words are especially insightful for a man like Hamlet, who is as introspective and unsure as he is.
We can conclude that Hamel, as shown in the play and supported by the above qualities, can be considered a tragic hero. Hamlet is not known as a brave and good-hearted hero. He is a hero who wants to do the right thing but keeps making mistakes.
His accomplishments and ambitions are matched by his failures and missteps. Hamlet is a character where virtue and evil co-exist.