An Essay On Shakespeare's "Hamlet" As A Tragic Hero

1029 words - 4 pages

According to Aristotle a tragic hero must have tragic flaws in their character or judgment that leads him to his doom. In Shakespeare's play "Hamlet" there are many tragic flaws identified within the main character, Hamlet. Some of the most obvious and important are Hamlet's indecisiveness, his excessive concern with death, and his exaggerated moral sensibility which ties in with his abhorrence of sex.Hamlet's indecisiveness is portrayed throughout the tragedy in many ways. The most prominent being his delay in avenging his father's death. When the ghost first appears to Hamlet, and tells him to avenge his death by killing his murderer, Claudius; Hamlet says, "Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swift As meditation or the thoughts of love, May sweep to my revenge." (pg59, lines 29-31) Hamlet is ready to murder Claudius and avenge the death of Hamlet Sr. However, at the end of the scene Hamlet delays his decision to kill Claudius by saying,"...The time is out of joint. O cursed spite, That ever I was born to set it right!..." (pg 64 lines 188-89) The players (actors) come to Elsinore, and it has been a while since Hamlet promised the ghost that he would take revenge. He sees how the first player weeps as he relays the story of Queen Hecuba and he is angry that he hasn't taken action for the death of his father. He calls himself a coward and tried to work himself into a rage by calling Claudius a "...Bloody, bawdy villain!..." but he realizes that he is still only talking and not taking any action. "...Why, what an ass am I! That is most brave, That I, the son of a dear father murdered, Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell, Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words And fall a-cursing like a very drab, A stallion!...."Hamlet is angry at himself for still not taking action and avenging his father's death like the ghost told him to. Despite all of this, Hamlet decides that instead of taking action right away; he is going to find out if the ghost is telling the truth by observing his uncle's looks and reactions.Another one of Hamlet's flaws is his excessive concern with death. The first example of Hamlet's obsession with death is when he says he wishes it weren't against the church to commit suicide. "...Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His cannon 'gainst self-slaughter. O G-d, G-d, How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world!" (pg 44 lines 131-34) Another example of Hamlet's excessive concern with death is in his famous speech. "To be, or not to be; that is the question... To die, to sleep -- no more -- and by a sleep to say we end The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to!... To die, to sleep -- To sleep-- perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub, For in that sleep of death what dreams may come..." (pg 93, lines 56, 60-66) Hamlet asks the question of weather to live or...

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