Hamlet fits the profile of a tragic hero because he is presented with a straightforward mandate from the ghost, the spirit of his father, and instead of devoutly pursuing his father’s revenge he differs the task to a later time. The ghost convinces Hamlet that in order for his soul to rest peacefully, Claudius must be slain. With this in mind, Hamlet becomes obsessed with his task and is willing to kill his uncle once he confirms he is guilty of murdering his father. His procrastination starts soon after he confirms Claudius’ guilt. Hamlet is presented with a perfect opportunity to complete his task and kill his uncle after the play. However when Hamlet enters the room that his uncle is in he says:
HAMLET. Now might I do it pat, now he is a-praying.
And now I’ll do’t. [Draws his sword]
And so he goes to heaven;
And so I am revenged. That would be scanned:
A villain kills my father and for that
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven. (III.iii.76-82)
This shows Hamlets rationale for not being able to kill his uncle even when h...
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...nd in killing Polonius who he mistook for Claudius, Hamlet brought upon himself great sufferings. (Joseph)
Joseph equates Hamlet’s error in judgment, of killing Polonius, to an eternal sin. In this respect Hamlet has become just as guilty as Claudius. She points out that all of this could have been prevented by Hamlet if he had acted on his “Christian calling” to kill Claudius while he was supposedly praying, instead of assuming the king was repenting to God when he was praying. It does not matter if Claudius repented because his crime was malicious and premeditated. Hamlet’s murder of Polonius only equals Claudius’ because he shows no signs or remorse whatsoever. Hamlet has also given the king a reason to take action against him. This double error in judgment, as Joseph calls it, synergies to create the perfect recipe for Hamlet’s downfall as a tragic hero.
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