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Hamlet, The Protagonist Essay

1438 words - 6 pages

The Protagonist of Hamlet
As often associated with a tragedy, a conflict usually ensues between a protagonist and another force in the play. A tragedy is ‘a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and a superior force and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that elicits pity or terror’ (Webster's dictionary). Given its structure and depth in characterization, this play will or can be analyzed and interpreted from various perspectives and beliefs. However, my analysis of the play is conducted on the basis of various components which are: Hamlet as a tragic hero, the ironic message conveyed in the play, the roles of its characters, the role and personification of madness, the role of paranormality, the role of friends and family, the role of inaction, the role of sex and violence, and the role of death as portrayed in the play. Based on literary definitions and portrayal of his character, there is popular belief that Hamlet as the protagonist acted to satisfy his own conscience but could his actions be attributed purely to his desire or was he being influenced by other factors?
Hamlet is a tale of tragedy by Shakespeare which tells the story of the prince of Denmark who is on a quest to avenge the death of his father at the hands of his uncle whom subsequently becomes king of Denmark. This is what fuels the fire in the play as Hamlet feels the responsibility to avenge his father’s death by his uncle Claudius; however, Claudius assumed the throne following the death of hamlets father. It is in this context that we see the evolution of hamlets character from a student and young prince of Denmark to the protagonist and tragic hero in the play.
Being the protagonist of the play, Hamlet exhibits all the characteristics of a tragic hero for he is brave, Intelligent, assertive, noble, faced with a serious decision and has the sympathy of the audience. On the other hand, an antagonist is “The principal character in opposition to the protagonist or hero of a narrative or drama or one who opposes or contends with another”. That role is played by Claudius who not only is responsible for the death of Hamlets father but subsequently marries his mother. He is depicted as an “ambitious politician, driven by his sexual appetites and his lust for power, but he occasionally shows signs of an individual with a soft heart, his love for Gertrude (Hamlets mother), for instance, seems sincere and in contrast to the Old King Hamlet who was a stern warrior, “Claudius is a corrupt politician whose main weapon is his ability to manipulate others through his skillful use of language”. He is portrayed as a man whose actions make him live in a world of paranoia and whose mind was often preoccupied with the retention of his throne and power.
Gertrude is one character that seems to leave questions in the minds of the audience. She was the queen of Denmark and Hamlets mother. Personally, I find it...

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