Hamlet Tragic Hero Essay - 542 Words (2023)

542 Words3 Pages

Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a tragedy that has driven arguments on whether or not Hamlet is a tragic hero. A tragic hero is a character in a tragedy, usually the protagonist, which has some fatal flaw that will eventually lead to their ultimate demise later on. Hamlet’s fatal flaw happens to be his continuous contemplation and inactivity. In order to understand a tragic hero, one must first understand tragedy. A tragedy is “a drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances.” There are six key elements to a tragic hero, the first being nobility. The tragic hero must be of noble birth,…show more content…
Hamlet’s fatal flaw is his continuous inactivity and contemplation throughout the whole play, which perpetuates his idle nature and ultimately leads to his demise. Hamlet spends the entire play in deep contemplation, delving deep into his innermost conflict and thought. His scenes are rampant with soliloquies that perpetuate the deep, thoughtful nature of Hamlet. This thoughtful nature is by no means a virtue of Hamlet. He must be driven by the cause of his father’s unruly death to seek vengeance for King Hamlet. “Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!” (Act II, Scene II, Line 535) Unfortunately, Hamlet’s constant scrutiny and consideration results in his idling and procrastination. While he should constantly strive for action, Hamlet remains mostly inactive, losing every opportunity to fight for his cause. He broods over justice, discusses morality, and explores both life and death through thought. While his soliloquies are proof of his inactivity, Hamlet’s behavior in regards to Polonius’ murder is strange, and seemingly out of character. This, however, just sheds more insight into Hamlet's faults. Hamlet does nothing to verify the identity of the eavesdropper and just assumes it is his uncle. He rather hastily stabs at the unidentified man, which reveals Hamlet's irrationality and immaturity when it


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Was Hamlet a tragic hero essay? ›

Hamlet is a tragic hero because he was blinded by his want for revenge of his father 's death. Hamlet pretended to be crazy for so long that he blocked out his true self and the people who cared for him, like Gertrude and Ophelia. The want for revenge was his flaw and what made him a tragic hero.

What is the tragic hero in Hamlet? ›

Activity Overview. Hamlet is full of important literary elements for students to explore. One of these elements is the tragic hero, a protagonist who seems to be ill-fated, and destined for doom. In this play, Hamlet is the tragic hero as he leads himself and many others to their ruin and deaths.

How is Hamlet a tragic hero short summary? ›

In Hamlet, Shakespeare uses the tragedies and deaths to make the play a tragedy; Hamlet is a tragic hero because he is a person of high rank who violated a law, and he poses a threat to society and causes suffering to others through violating the law, which are all characteristics of a tragic hero.

What is the tragic flaw of Hamlet * 5 points? ›

His tragic flaw is 'procrastination'. His continuous awareness and doubt delays him in performing the needed. Hamlet finally kills Claudius but only after realizing that he is poisoned. His procrastination, his tragic flaw, leads him to his doom along with that of the other characters he targets.

Why is Hamlet considered a tragic hero quizlet? ›

Hamlet is killed with a poisoned sword by Laertes. The main character, or tragic hero, comes to an unhappy end. The tragic hero is a person of importance in society. The tragic hero exhibits extraordinary abilities.

How is Hamlet a tragic hero thesis? ›

Prince Hamlet is a model example of a Shakespearean tragic hero. Every tragedy must have a tragic hero. A tragic hero must own many good traits, but has a flaw that ultimately leads to his downfall. If not for this tragic flaw, the hero would be able to survive at the end of the play.

Why is Hamlet a tragedy essay? ›

Hamlet is a revenge tragedy. It features the elements of a tragedy common in his time such as a murder, ghosts, and someone seeking revenge, but it also has elements of a tragedy such as the main character having a fatal flaw.

How is Hamlet seen as a hero? ›

Hamlet is a thoughtful young man whose determination to protect his own honor-to maintain his morality-becomes, for Shakespeare, the heroic social triumph of the play. Hamlet is Shakespeare's absolute hero. He is heroic even in the Greek sense: he is larger than life.

What is an example of a tragic hero? ›

Shakespeare created many notable tragic heroes: Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, and Othello, to name a few. Let's analyze a modern and a classic tragic hero as examples: In Star Wars, Anakin Skywalker's fear of losing his loved ones drives him to join the Dark Side, embracing evil powers in a twisted attempt to save them.

Is Hamlet an anti hero or tragic hero? ›

Hamlet, the protagonist in William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, does not fit into the above description of a hero, and should be labeled as an "anti-hero." By a specific definition, an antihero is the "hero" of the play or novel, but this protagonist has negative attributes apart from the classic hero figure.

Who is the most tragic character in Hamlet? ›

Sweet and innocent, faithful and obedient, Ophelia is the truly tragic figure in William Shakespeare's Hamlet. "Her nature invites us to pity her misfortune caused not by any of her own self-initiated deeds or strategies"(Lidz 138). Laertes tells us convincingly how young and vulnerable Ophelia is, (act I. iii.

How is Hamlet not a tragic hero? ›

Hamlet cannot be the tragic hero, even though his story is deeply tragic, because he lacks a fatal flaw and even has an off-screen redemption arc that allows him to finally put his indecision aside and fulfill his destiny.

What is the tragic conflict in Hamlet? ›

Internal conflict happens on Hamlet's when the spirit of his father comes and asks him to do a revenge on the death of his father murdured by his uncle, Claudius. On the other hand, Ophelia is also mentally struck by a huge burden on the death of his father unpurposely killed by Hamlet.

How does Hamlet's tragic flaw lead to his death? ›

Life-changing decisions can be made if one is inept to act before thinking. In William Shakespeare's play, Hamlet's tragic flaw is undoubtedly exhibited through procrastination, in addition to his inability to act upon important situations, which ultimately leads to his death.

Is Hamlet a hero a villain or something else? ›

In short, Hamlet is a self-centred, entitled, manipulative, callous bully. However, he is also intensely charismatic, so much so that he has persuaded the world to share his Hamlet-centric view. That is what makes him a villain of genius.

Is Hamlet a revenge hero? ›

Hamlet is a revenge tragedy, because it contains all the typical elements of the revenge tragedy: a violent crime committed against a family member of the hero, the hero's doubt which involves complex planning to carry out the revenge, the appearance of a ghost, the avenger's soliloquies and asides, madness, bloody ...

Who is a tragic hero according to Shakespeare? ›

A tragic hero is a type of character in a tragedy, and is usually the protagonist. Tragic heroes typically have heroic traits that earn them the sympathy of the audience, but also have flaws or make mistakes that ultimately lead to their own downfall. In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is a tragic hero.

What is a good thesis statement for Hamlet? ›

Thesis: The repeated guise of madness in Shakespeare's Hamlet demonstrates a departure from norms creates freedom from social and political restrictions. BP1: As Hamlet first begins to act insane, he is freed from social restrictions regarding how he speaks to those around him – both his superiors and his subordinates.

Is Hamlet a victim or a villain essay? ›

During the course of the play, Shakespeare portrays Hamlet as the victim at first, but later becomes the villain when he murders his uncle to seek revenge for his father's death. Hamlet's Christian values kept him from seeking revenge all throughout the play until the very end.

What is Hamlet's tragic flaw quote? ›

Hamlet's tragic flaw is his inability to avenge his father's death because he hasn't been able to conquer himself in his internal conflict. This recalls the cliche – “One's greatest enemy is no other than oneself”.

What is the most important reason for Hamlet's tragic end? ›

Indecisiveness In Hamlet

His father dies, and his mother marries his uncle. This stress put on him is what essentially created his tragic flaw. Hamlets tragic flaw is his indecisiveness to make decisions. This trait is demonstrated through the entire play and causes Hamlet to his own demise.

Is Hamlet a tragedy or problem play? ›

Tragedy. Hamlet is one of the most famous tragedies ever written, and in many respects, it exhibits the features traditionally associated with the tragic genre. In addition to the play ending with the death of Hamlet and a host of others, Hamlet himself is a classic tragic protagonist.

Why Prince Hamlet is a hero? ›

Prince Hamlet As A Tragic Hero In Shakespeare's Hamlet

Prince Hamlet can even be considered a quintessential tragic hero due to how closely he relates to Aristotle's definition. Initially he has noble motives which were to avenge his father's death but by the end, his flaws and bad decisions lead him to his death.

What is a tragic hero essay? ›

Remember, a tragic hero is someone with good intentions, strength, and the ability for success, but who also has a weakness or makes a mistake that leads to their downfall/death. So, be sure to include that character's positive attributes and tragic flaw(s) as part of your argument.

What are the 4 characteristics of a tragic hero? ›

Hamartia – It is the tragic flaw that causes downfall of a hero. Hubris – It is excessive pride and disrespect of hero for natural order. Peripeteia – The reversal of fate that the hero experiences. Anagnorisis – This moment happens when hero makes an important discovery in the story.

What are the five parts of the tragic hero? ›

These terms include hubris, hamartia, peripeteia, anagnorisis, nemesis, and catharsis.

Is Hamlet to blame for the tragedy? ›

Most of the deaths in the play can be argued in many ways, but one character that is definitely to blame for a lot of deaths is Hamlet. Hamlet is the tragic hero in the play and although his plan was only to kill Claudius he ended up taking out a lot of other characters along the way.

Is Hamlet a Renaissance tragic hero? ›

Hamlet is a Renaissance Man because his approach to life is fundamentally different to that of the Medieval characters of the play. He is concerned with morality and questioning of the current way of life.

Is Hamlet a tragic hero is Hamlet a tragic hero in the true sense of tragedy? ›

Hamlet is in fact a tragic hero. According to Aristotle's definition of tragedy, a tragic hero is a great person who has the potential for greatness but is defeated. This protagonist must come into conflict with a force who or which directly opposes to what he should want.

Why is Ophelia not a tragic hero? ›

Ophelia is a sweet and innocent girl, who obeys her father and her brother (Laertes). She has the potential to become a tragic heroine, to overcome the adversities inflicted upon her, but instead, she crumbles into insanity, becoming merely tragic.

What does Ophelia's death symbolize? ›

Ophelia's drowning is the consummate representation of an eternal retreat into the feminine, trading an individual voice for eternal silence in union with feminine essence. In turn, her death expresses the danger of reducing an individual to his or her gender and disregarding the voice of the marginalized.

What does Ophelia symbolize? ›

Ophelia in Hamlet is a character who is jilted by Hamlet in love, controlled by her brother Laertes and father Polonius, and ultimately broken mentally and drowned to death. Her character in the play represents femininity and fragility.

What makes a tragic hero? ›

TRAGIC HERO CLASSICAL DEFINITION. A tragic hero is a person of noble birth with heroic or potentially heroic qualities. This person is fated by the Gods or by some supernatural force to doom and destruction or at least to great suffering.

What is the tragic climax in Hamlet? ›

Act 5 Scene 2 - The tragic climax

Unaware that Claudius has conspired to have Laertes murder Hamlet during a staged duel and for it to appear accidental, Hamlet accepts Laertes's challenge in good faith. As they fight, Gertrude drinks the poisoned wine that Claudius had intended for Hamlet and dies.

What is the tragic resolution in Hamlet? ›

The conflict of Hamlet is never resolved: Hamlet cannot finally decide what to believe or what action to take. This lack of resolution makes the ending of Hamlet especially horrifying: nearly all the characters are dead, but nothing has been solved.

Who killed Hamlet? ›

Hamlet agrees to fight Laertes. During the duel, Gertrude drinks poison and both Hamlet and Laertes are fatally wounded. Hamlet kills Claudius before he dies.

Who is to blame for Hamlet's downfall? ›

Prince Hamlet, by word of his late father's ghost, is informed that his uncle Claudius is to blame for his father's sudden demise.

Who is to blame for Hamlet's death? ›

In William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet, Claudius establishes himself as responsible for the death and destruction of many characters through the heinous act of murdering his brother, King Hamlet. Early in the play, a ghost, who resembles the dead King, appears to Hamlet and tells him the truth about his death.

Why is Hamlet considered a tragedy essay? ›

Hamlet is a revenge tragedy. It features the elements of a tragedy common in his time such as a murder, ghosts, and someone seeking revenge, but it also has elements of a tragedy such as the main character having a fatal flaw.

Is Hamlet responsible for his own tragic fate essay? ›

The decision of Hamlet to take action into his own hands leads Hamlet on a prolonged journey to avenge his father's death, however Hamlet's over analyzation and series of missed chances or opportunities to kill King Claudius, proves Hamlet to ultimately be procrastinator who is responsible for his own fate, whatever ...

Is Hamlet a tragic hero a character who comes to misfortune through a fatal character flaw? ›

Hamlet in Shakespeare's play is known as a tragic hero due the fact that he was bound for greatness, but his fall came as a result of his personality flaw of over thinking and complicating each situation and not being able to act in desperate times.

Is Hamlet a revenge tragedy essay? ›

Audiences watching Hamlet at the time it was first performed would recognize the play as belonging to a particular genre: they didn't have a name for it, but modern scholars call it “revenge tragedy.” In a revenge tragedy the hero has suffered a great wrong, usually the murder of someone he loves, and the plot is ...

What are the six elements of tragedy in Hamlet? ›

Aristotle comments that for a Play to be classed as a Tragedy it has to have six main elements: plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle, and music (Aristotle on Tragedy, n.d.).

Is Hamlet a revenge tragedy or not? ›

Hamlet is one of Shakespeare's important revenge tragedy plays believing to have been written between 1599 and 1601. The play points out flaming with revenge after the King has been murdered by his brother and claims the throne. The concept of revenge is the driving force throughout the play.

How Hamlet is responsible for his own tragic fate? ›

From killing Polonius to eventually causing the deaths of the entire royal family, Hamlet shows his friends and subordinates that he makes his choices based on his emotions. This ignorance and overall weakness becomes the layout for all of Hamlets choices, thus eventually leading him to his own demise.

Did Hamlet cause his own death? ›

At the end of the play in Act 5, Scene 2, Hamlet dies when he is stabbed with the poisoned sword. While Laertes stabbed Hamlet, it was Claudius who poisoned the sword. Claudius plotted with Laertes to revenge the murder of Polonius and the death of Ophelia but really wanted Hamlet dead so he could continue to be king.

Why is Hamlet to blame for the tragic ending? ›

The selfish decision Claudius makes to murder Hamlet's father makes him liable for all the other tragedies that occur. The death of King Hamlet causes Hamlet to act out of character, which makes him do things he would not normally do. This leads to the deaths of Polonius and Ophelia.

Why do people think Hamlet is a hero? ›

Hamlet is a thoughtful young man whose determination to protect his own honor-to maintain his morality-becomes, for Shakespeare, the heroic social triumph of the play. Hamlet is Shakespeare's absolute hero. He is heroic even in the Greek sense: he is larger than life.

Is Hamlet a coward or a hero? ›

As the protagonist of Shakespeare's play Hamlet, the young Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, is popularly considered a heroic figure, revenging the murder of his father who was poisoned by Claudius, Hamlet's uncle.

How is Hamlet a tragic hero what is his tragic flaw and how does this lead to his downfall give at least two specific textual examples to support your response? ›

His flaw is that he is overly concerned with death and tragedy. This flaw or weakness in Hamlet leads him into a world of chaotic surroundings and madness. Hamlet's flaw and his mad personality led to the death of several people, including his mother and the King of Denmark!

What fatal flaw does a tragic hero suffer from? ›

The most common tragic flaw (or hamartia) for a tragic hero to have is hubris, or excessive pride and self-confidence. Sophocles' tragic play Oedipus Rex contains what is perhaps the most well-known example of Aristotle's definition of the tragic hero—and it's also a good example of hubris.


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