Hamlet: Shakespeare Tragic Hero

Hamlet: Shakespeare Tragic Hero

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Hamlet: Shakespeare Tragic Hero


        In Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, the main character is a classic

example of a Shakespearean tragic hero.  Hamlet is considered to be a

tragic hero because he has a tragic flaw that in the end, is the cause of

his downfall.  The play is an example of a Shakespearean tragic play

because it has all of the characteristics of the tragic play.  As defined

by Aristotle, a tragic play has a beginning, middle, and end; unity of time

and place; a tragic hero; and the concept of catharsis.

 

        One of the main reasons this play is considered a tragic play is

because the main character is a tragic hero.  Hamlet's tragic flaw is he

spends too much time thinking and not enough time acting.  This is the

opposite of Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, in which the tragic hero spends

too much time acting, and not enough time thinking.  Hamlet dwells too much

on whether or not to act on something, and by the time he decides to act,

it is too late.  When Hamlet finally decides to kill Claudius, he sees him

praying and decides to wait longer.  The next time he gets a chance to kill

Claudius he takes it, but by then it was too late.  Hamlet was killed as

well.  He could have prevented his downfall if it wasn't for his tragic

flaw.

 

        Another reason Hamlet is a classic example of Shakespearean tragedy

is because it incorporates the idea of catharsis.  Aristotle defined

catharsis as the purging of the emotions of fear and pity.  In the play,

Claudius has the emotion of fear because he is afraid of Hamlet knowing

that he killed his father.  Claudius knows that Hamlet is capable of

killing him.  He knows that he cannot kill Hamlet to protect himself or to

prevent the people from knowing who killed the king because the people love

Hamlet too much.  Claudius feels pity after he sees the "Mouse Trap"

because he realizes what he had done was wrong now that Hamlet knows the

truth behind the matter.

 

        Hamlet is a tragic play because it has a beginning, middle, and end,

and takes place in a short period of time.  The play has a specific

beginning, which consists of Hamlet seeing his father and considering what

to do about it.  The middle is one of the actions that he took, the "Mouse

Trap."  This set the course for the end, which was when the whole ending

fencing scene takes place, when Hamlet and most of the other main

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characters die.  The play took place in a short period of time and moved

consistently without too many breaks in time.

 

        This is a tragic play because it contains all of the

characteristics of the classic tragic play.  It takes place over a short

period of time with a beginning, middle, and end.  It has a tragic hero who

possesses a flaw that causes his demise.  Hamlet did get done what he

wanted to get done, but because of his flaw, he ended up dying.  He could

have prevented his death, but because of his inaction and over analyzing,

the tragic flaw, he couldn't.
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