Shakespeare's play, Hamlet illustrates the tragedy of a young prince's pursuit to obtain revenge for a corrupt act, the murder of his father. As the exposition unfolds, we find Prince Hamlet struggling with internal conflict over who and what was behind his father's death. His struggle continues as he awaits the mystic appearance of a ghost who is reported to resemble his father. Suddenly it appears, proclaiming, "Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing / To what I shall unfold" (1.5.5-6). The ghost continues to speak providing an important clue: "The serpent that did sting thy father's life / Now wears his crown" (1.5.38-39). In short, this passage reveals evidence leading to the identity of whom Prince Hamlet must pursue in order to obtain revenge. Moreover, Prince Hamlet's pursuit for revenge casts him into the role of a tragic hero, whose decision to feign madness enables the audience to see his tragic flaw, which seals his fate of destruction.
Tragic heroes are characterized as the protagonists of a tragedy who begin in a state of happiness and fall into destruction. The manner in which Prince Hamlet's happiness is affected, causing him to assume the role of a tragic hero is through the loss of his father, which drives him into a state of depression. Also, the hasty remarriage of his mother, Queen Gertrude to his uncle, Claudius, the new king becomes significant, as he is reluctant to support this marriage. His reluctance is portrayed later in the play as he speaks to Gertrude, saying,
Look her upon this picture, and on this, The counterfeit presentment of two brothers. See what a grace was seated on this brow: Hyperion's curls, the front of Jove himself, An eye like Mar...
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Gooch, Bryan N. S. "Review of The Shapes of Revenge: Victimization, Vengeance, and Vindictiveness in Shakespeare." Early Modern Literary Studies 4.1 (May, 1998): 5.1-6 http://purl.oclc.org/emls/04-1/rev_goo6.html.
Gordon, Edward J. Introduction to Tragedy. Rochelle Park, NJ: Hayden Book Co., Inc., 1973.
Jorgensen, Paul A. "Hamlet." William Shakespeare: the Tragedies. Boston: Twayne Publ., 1985. N. pag. http://www.freehomepages.com/hamlet/other/jorg-hamlet.html
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