Shakespeare's Tragedies

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“To be, or not to be: that is the question:/ Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune/ Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,/ And by opposing end them?” (Hamlet, III, i, 58-62). William Shakespeare penned these powerful words relating suicide and suffering. These themes are dark and somber, but the speech remains one of the most recognizable soliloquies in theatrical work. To be able to compose such compelling monologue, the great playwright experienced crises. The epitome of William Shakespeare’s genius is most evidently seen in his tragedies, including Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear. Although Shakespeare wrote a multiplicity of comedies, his tragedies are the most acclaimed and showcase his artistry.
Hamlet is considered to be the first of Shakespeare’s great tragedies. As the title suggests, Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, is the protagonist. Hamlet is a very complex and dynamic character that scholars have been striving to understand for centuries. Unlike other characters faced with the possibility of violence, Hamlet experiences trepidation and moral qualms about avenging the murder of his father. “Hamlet is not classifiable because he is a specific person who is made up of many different impulses and moods. It's hardly surprising to find him veering between extremes of behavior, hesitating, demanding proof, looking for the most appropriate way to carry out his task.” (Feingold 46) As with other of Shakespeare’s works, Hamlet is written in a five-act structure. In the first act, the exposition, the ruinous state of Denmark is explained and the ghost of Hamlet father calls for vengeance. In the rising action in the second act, Hamlet endeavors to uncover the truth about the g...

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...gedies were born, influencing innumerable societies to come.

Works Cited

Adams, Michael. William Shakespeare's Othello. New York City: Barron's Educational Series, 1984. Print.

Berryman, John. “The Crisis.” American Poetry Review, American Poetry Review, 01 Jan 1999. Web. 22 Nov 2013

Feingold, Michael. William Shakespeare's Hamlet. New York City: Barron's Educational Series, 1984. Print.

“The Great Tragedies.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. 1974. Print.

Rosenblatt, Arthur S. William Shakespeare's King Lear. New York City: Barron's Educational Series, 1984. Print.

SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Hamlet.” SparkNotes LLC. 2002 Web. 20 Nov 2013

SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on King Lear.” SparkNotes LLC. 2002 Web. 3 Dec 2013

SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Othello.” SparkNotes LLC. 2002 Web. 3 Dec 2013

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