The Tragic Heroes Of Hamlet By William Shakespeare

1156 Words5 Pages
Hamlet: One of Many Tragic Heroes Although tragic heroes in literature differ from one another with their own unique stories, they are all bound together by several common characteristics. Furthermore, many of these characteristics revolve around a general story line that consists of a noble and heroic character, who, in making a flawed judgement error, inevitably dooms him/herself. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince Hamlet displays many of these same characteristics shared by other tragic heroes. Hamlet, then, can be considered to be a tragic hero as he exhibits hamartia in his flawed, indecisive judgement whilst in pursuit of revenge, experiences a dramatic moment of peripeteia brought about because of his innate flaw, and also undergoes various phases of anagnorisis when he compares the actions of various others to his own. In various Aristotelian tragedies, the tragic hero’s hamartia often manifests itself in a flaw or error of judgement often heavily influenced by a desire for revenge. Similarly, Hamlet’s own hamartia is embodied in his own distinctive indecisive and contemplative nature, which, in juxtaposition with the underlying storyline of revenge, is repeatedly emphasized at various points throughout the play. When Rosencrantz and Guildenstern attribute Hamlet’s moodiness and his antic disposition at times to his vast ambitions, Hamlet replies that he could “count [himself] a king of infinite space”, if not for his “bad dreams” (2.2.273–275). Hamlet’s reply reveals that his bad dreams, presumably caused by the startling revelation from the ghost, has plagued him into a state of indecision, and if not for such bad dreams, his mind would be free to take action to become even a king of infinite space. As such, a maj... ... middle of paper ... ...mpetus of revenge, Hamlet displays his hamartia, or a flawed judgement due to revenge, similar of other tragic heroes. In his encounters with various foils whose actions contrast starkly with his own lack of action, Hamlet enters states of enlightenment and self-realization in which he realizes his flaws that cause his repeated mistakes and missed opportunities and resolves himself to actually take action rather than contemplating action the next time around, also characteristic of other tragic heroes as moments of anagnorisis. While these are just a few characteristics of tragic heroes present also shared by Hamlet, there are most definitely many other shared characteristics common to both Hamlet and other tragic heroes. As such, despite the differences between the unique storylines of each different tragic hero, all share some fundamental baseline traits in common.
Open Document