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The Tragedy of Hamlet

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The Tragedy of Hamlet

In life the border between sanity and madness is thin and undefined. At best it is

a gray area, fuzzy and unclear. Yet it is this area that Shakespeare so deftly depicts in

The Tragedy of Hamlet. The gray environment he weaves eventually renders it almost

impossible to tell the sane from the insane, the ability to reason ultimately becomes the

audience's sole determiner of a character's mental condition. Thus, Shakespeare is able

to successfully tie his thoughts on reason and emotion to a character's sanity. In the play

Hamlet, by Shakespeare, the main character fits the description for being a tragic hero. A

tragic hero is a character who has experienced life more fully, whether by heroic action

or by capacity for enduring suffering than other characters in the play and ultimately

destroys themselves. In Hamlet Shakespeare seems to suggest that suicide is an escape

from the sorrow of life, "a consummation/Devoutly to be wished" (3.1.64-65), yet much

of the play suggests that, for Hamlet at least, it is out of reach. He goes beyond the

standards to which reasonable people adhere. Hamlet's main tragic flaw is anger because

through the play he acts upon impulse rather than logic, which results in the destruction

of himself and his cruel remarks to Ophelia that contribute to her suicide.

Since Hamlet does not give into his suicidal impulse, he is admired by the

audience and given the qualities of a tragic hero. Throughout the play he is dominated

by calculating reason and his contemplative nature. Often times Hamlet fantasizes about

death. He calls death an end to "the heartache and the thousand natural shocks/ That

flesh is heir to," and "a consummation/ Devoutly to be wis...

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...ith Ophelia. He says cruel jokes to humiliate her, and

at first she shows total innocence of his meaning. He has only been playing with

Ophelia, boosting his own confidence by his superior jokes at her innocence. Hamlet

uses his anger against Ophelia to hurt her, which ends with her suicide.

Hamlet is the tragic hero of the play because he is a prince with nobility

that others look up to and he has a tragic flaw of wrath, which ultimately destroyed

himself. Shakespeare did not intend his dark prince to be insane supports the idea that he

was intended to be firmly rooted in reason. His anger results in his need to seek revenge

on his uncle, the contribution to Ophelia suicide, and finally the death of himself along

with many others. In the end Hamlet realized his defect, but also that there was no

possible way he could avoid his awful predicament.
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