Free Hamlet Essays: No Tragic Flaw in Hamlet

  • Length: 760 words (2.2 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document



No Tragic Flaw in Hamlet

 

It was my observation after reading Hamlet, that the play and its main character are not typical examples of tragedy and contain a questionable "tragic flaw" in the tragic hero. I chose this topic because Hamlet is a tragedy, but one that is very different from classical tragedies such as Medea. I also found quite a lot of controversial debate over the play and its leading character. While reading through my notes, I found that, according to Aristotle, "the tragic hero will most effectively evoke both our pity and terror if he is neither thoroughly good nor evil but a mixture of both; and also that the tragic effect will be stronger if the hero is better than we are in the sense that he is of higher than ordinary moral worth. Such a man is exhibited as suffering a change in fortune from happiness to misery because of a mistaken act, to which he is led by his hamartia ("error of judgment") or his tragic flaw." It is important that this be clear, because I plan to demonstrate how Shakespeare makes Hamlet an atypical tragedy to begin with, and how controversial an issue Hamlet's tragic flaw is.

 

Shakespeare's Hamlet is an atypical play to begin with, because the play's format doesn't conform to traditional Aristotelian concepts of the 3 unities. Shakespeare does not conform to unity of time, place, or action. Hamlet contains a "play within a play," sub-plots, and its action is not set in one day, but several. According to Aristotle, the play should be one day long. There are also a number of comedic moments. Humor, as Aristotle would have it, would reduce the impact of tragedy. Unlike Medea and Oedipus, which contain virtually no humor whatsoever, the play Hamlet has several comedic moments. The last difference I could find is the stature of the character. In the older plays such as Oedipus, the heroes are primarily kings. Hamlet on the other hand is a prince; his stature is starting out smaller than normal.

 

While reading Hamlet, I came to the conclusion that even though this is a tragedy, the hero's supposed flaw is not like those in classical tragedies. To the best of my knowledge, the flaw that I could pick out that best fit Hamlet was sloth . . . as well as the critics themselves.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Free Hamlet Essays: No Tragic Flaw in Hamlet." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Jun 2018
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=11480>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Hamlet: A Tragic Hero Essay - “A tragic flaw is an error or defect in the tragic hero that leads to his downfall.” (http://www.bedfordstmartins.com/literature/bedlit/glossary_t.htm) In the history of literature, if the question of who was the most indecisive character was brought up, Hamlet would be a prime candidate. Hamlet had numerous chances to reap revenge for his father’s death but was only able to follow through after the accidental murder of his mother. Hamlet’s inability to make a decision ultimately leads to his demise, and for that is his tragic flaw....   [tags: Hamlet, Shakespeare]
:: 2 Works Cited
885 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Hamlet: A Tragic Hero Essay - The tragedy of Hamlet, Shakespeare’s most popular and greatest tragedy, presents his genius as a playwright and includes many numbers of themes and literary techniques. In all tragedies, the main character, called a tragic hero, suffers and usually dies at the end. 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....   [tags: Shakespearean Literature] 685 words
(2 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Free Essays - Hamlet as a Tragic Hero - An Examination of Hamlet as a Tragic Hero Webster’s dictionary defines tragedy as, “a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and a superior 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 related actions. The character of Hamlet, therefore, is a clear representation of Shakespeare’s tragic hero....   [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet] 1445 words
(4.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Shakespeare's Hamlet was an Overthinker and Complex Philosopher Essay - ... His only proof was the ghost and even though others saw the ghost no one else heard it talk except Hamlet. Hamlet was also considering a lot of other things at this time, like how if he killed Claudius now Claudius would be free of sin and would go to heaven. He was also thinking if his father didn’t get to die free of sin it wouldn’t be fair for Claudius to die free of sin either, which shows how vengeful Hamlet’s character is. At the same time, Hamlet has morals and understands the consequences so that’s why it’s harder for him to perform the act ....   [tags: flaw, impulse, revenge] 641 words
(1.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Comparison: Oedipus and Hamlet Essay - According to Aristotle there are five characteristics of a tragic hero: Flaw or error of judgment, (Peripeteia) a reversal of fortune, the enlightenment (anagnorisis) the discovery or recognition, (hubris) excessive pride, and the character’s fate. Oedipus finds the elders of Thebes praying to the gods for liberation of the plague. Oedipus “alone can help. The cause of the trouble is himself; the chances he has had in his life are precisely the source of the plague” (Diski 1). Oedipus is the cause and the solution to end the plague, but he is blind to the true....   [tags: Tragic Heroes, Characteristics]
:: 9 Works Cited
1313 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Malcolm X and the Shakespearean Tragic Hero Essay - Malcolm X and the Shakespearean Tragic Hero           Aristotle defines a tragic hero as “good but flawed, must be aristocratic, must be believable, and must behave consistently.” The Muslim leader Malcolm X can be compared to such tragic heroes such as Othello and Hamlet. Malcolm’s life and his personality have similar traits from both of the famous Shakespearean heroes. In this paper we will look deeper into the life of Malcolm X and find the similarities between him and the tragic heroes, also we will prove that Malcom X can also be referred to as one of the great tragic heroes....   [tags: Othello Hamlet Shakespeare] 1802 words
(5.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about The play Hamlet by William Shakespeare - The play Hamlet by Shakespeare, takes place in The Kingdom Denmark at the beginning of 17th century. The word tragedy means a failing of character in the hero of a tragedy that begins about his downfall. “The tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark” says it all because he was prince of Denmark and, he was not free to carve for himself. Hamlet, like all the other major characters, was untrue to himself. When he was himself, he was like Horatio, a student from Wittenberg....   [tags: king of denmar, tragedy, ophelia] 800 words
(2.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Free Essays: Comparing Characters and Themes in Hamlet and Macbeth - Parallel Characters and Themes in Hamlet and MacBeth   Throughout William Shakespeare’s plays Hamlet and Macbeth there are many similarities, along with many differences. These plays are both Shakespearean tragedies, which often use supernatural incidents to capture the reader’s interest, and consists of a hero that has a tragic flaw. There are many comparative and contrasting aspects in these plays.             The opening of Hamlet involves a supernatural, as does the opening of Macbeth....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays] 647 words
(1.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Hamlet and Tragedy Essay - Hamlet and Tragedy Hamlet: A Tragedy When you think of William Shakespeare, Hamlet is the first thing most people think of, as his work. Hamlet is also a classic example of a tragedy. In all tragedies the hero suffers, and usually dies at the end. All good pieces of literature written way back when, are usually tragedies. The most important element is the amount of free will the character has. In every tragedy, the character must display free will. If every action is controlled by a hero's destiny, then the hero's death can't be avoided, and in a tragedy the sad part is that it could....   [tags: essays papers] 537 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Hamlet by Shakespeare Essays - The Undiscovered Country Nothing is certain but death. It is the only inevitability in life, the great equalizer, the future to which humanity grows, leans, reaches. Yet the fear of death is a constant one, universal and unavoidable. Hamlet deeply experiences this fear of death and it is in his most famous soliloquy that he voices his dread and confusion concerning this inevitable end, closer in time and mind perhaps, given his present circumstances. All the soliloquies in Hamlet, and indeed in all of Shakespeare’s works, serve to characterize, and it is through this method of characterization that one is most clearly aware of the strengths, weaknesses and conflicts of the speakers....   [tags: essays research papers] 2614 words
(7.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches




Was this accurate? I think not, and here is why. Hamlet is not a lazy person to begin with. He has no inborn flaw in his character. Morris Weitz concludes that "Before his father's death, Hamlet was athletic, joyful, fearless, idealistic, open, adoring of his parents, and in love with Ophelia, and that some of the traits remain throughout the play" (229). Nowhere does he mention slovenliness or sloth. I say that the reasons Hamlet delays are all sensible and normal and don't reflect a tragic flaw on his part. I feel that it is his situation, the fact that he doesn't want to kill another human, and the knowledge of a Hell that his father is in that deters him from immediate action. Weitz concludes, "Hamlet delays because he is melancholy" (229). Again, this would indicate the sudden situation he finds himself in, and the depression he feels at missing his father.

 

It is also easy to see that Hamlet is rash at times. Wouldn't being rash override laziness? Does Hamlet not kill Polonius in his mother's bedchamber, dispatches Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, board a pirate ship, and in the end kill Claudius? These are all actions, and in my opinion renounce any laziness one could mistake for being thoughtful. In fact, one critic writes that to delay reflects Hamlet's moral fiber: "Hamlet is meant to be a fine and noble sould, and why should he not hesitate and delay? Not in every man who does that is there a vital defect . . . . There is a defect in the drama, of course, but it is only as our technique is superimposed upon the drama that this is turned into a tragic defect in the hero . . . " (Stoll 19). This is no tragic flaw, to delay . . . only normal human reason. . . .

 

The other characters can't find a flaw in Hamlet; we can't find a flaw in Hamlet. One has to be invented for us. . . .

 

Works Cited

A Glossary of Literary Terms. 1988.

Smith, Dr. Leigh. Lecture. UHCL.

Stoll, Elmer. Hamlet: An Historical and Comparative Study. NY: Gordian Press, 1968.

Weitz, Morris. Hamlet and the Philosophy of Literary Criticism. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1964.


Return to 123HelpMe.com