This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Tragic Hero Of Hamlet Essay

1064 words - 4 pages

The Tragic Hero of Hamlet

 
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 Mars, to threaten and command, A station like the herald Mercury New Lighted on a [heaven-] kissing hill, A combination and a form indeed, Where every god did seem to set his seal to give the world assurance of a man.  This was your husband.  Look now what follows: Here is your husband, like a mildewed ear, Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?  (3.4.53 - 65)

Likewise, the absence of happiness as well as a foreshadowing of destruction is heard between Prince Hamlet and the Ghost:  "The time is out of joint-O-cursed site, / Thatever I was born to set right! / Nay, come, let's go together" (1.5.188-90).  This quote illustrates his task of seeking revenge for his father's death, which ultimately influences his destruction.

Prince Hamlet's decision to feign madness does not follow the traditional method of a tragic hero's flaw being associated with an internal weakness such as having too much pride, ambition, or passion that causes his fall from happiness into destruction.  For example, the Greek philosopher Aristotle defined the tragic hero with Oedipus as the archetype: a great man at the pinnacle of his power who, through a flaw in his own character, topples, taking everyone in his jurisdiction with him.  In...

Find Another Essay On The Tragic Hero of Hamlet

How closely does Hamlet match Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero? Can he be accepted as a modern tragic hero?

2376 words - 10 pages contains the perfect example of a "tragic hero", as defined by Aristotle (384-322 BC). Student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great, Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who influenced scholars for centuries to come. One of his published works, Poetics, gives a detailed description of what once was the ideal tragic hero. Whether or not Shakespeare read Poetics is entirely open to question, but it is undeniable that Hamlet embodies many of

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

The Hero of Hamlet

1914 words - 8 pages The Hero of Hamlet         Hamlet, the hero of Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, stands head and shoulders above all the other characters in the play – he is that noble in thought and action. This essay will portray the true and complete Hamlet.   As the future king of Denmark, the hero is expected to maintain a good working relationship with the present king, Claudius. But this is not so. Even before the apparition of the ghost

The Tragic Hero of Antigone

894 words - 4 pages Everyone agrees that Oedipus is the quintessential Greek tragic hero. In fact, Aristotle had Oedipus specifically in mind when he first set down the requirements for tragedy in his Poetics. However, in other Greek tragedies, the tragic hero isn’t always so easy to identify. For example, in the play Antigone, the reader may have some difficulty deciding who the tragic hero is. Nevertheless, a careful examination of the facts reveals that Antigone

The Tragic Hero Of Antigone

930 words - 4 pages The play Antigone by Sophocles is a classic Greek tragedy in every aspect but one. One question remains, who is the tragic hero? First, we should give meaning to what makes up a tragic hero. A tragic hero is a character, usually of high birth, who is neither totally good nor totally evil. Some weakness, error in judgment, or circumstances beyond their control, brings about their own downfall. Antigone is widely thought of as the tragic hero of

The Tragic Flaw of Hamlet

1069 words - 4 pages The Tragic Flaw of Hamlet One of the greatest works in literature, Shakespeare's Hamlet has been the topic of controversial discussion ever since it was written. The controversies range from "Is Hamlet truly mad, to Is Hamlet really in love with Ophelia." The most intriguing topic of discussion though, is Hamlet's fatal flaw. As in all Shakespearean works, there is always a tragic hero. This hero is always the person that the audience

The Downfall Of 'The Tragic Hero'

1180 words - 5 pages Macbeth is written by the playwright William Shakespeare. The play is a story of good verses evil, which portrays the decline of Macbeth ¡¥the tragic hero¡¦ who starts as a valiant kinsman and becomes a bloody tyrant who dies shamefully. A tragic hero is an eminent person who falls from grace because of their fatal flaw. In Macbeth¡¦s case his fatal flaw is his vaulting ambition to be king and to stop anyone

The Tragic Hero of The Great Gatsby

1500 words - 6 pages Achilles' hamartia was his heel, Samson's was his love for Delilah, and Hamlet's was his indecisiveness. The definition of hamartia is a fatal flaw that leads to the downfall of a hero. In each of these heroes' cases, they had a specific flaw lead to their demise. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby: the main character, Jay Gatsby is the tragic hero. Like all tragic heroes, he inspires the feeling of sympathy from readers

Creon, the Tragic Hero of Antigone

514 words - 2 pages Antigone is a very tragic story written by a Greek author named Sophocles involving many deaths because of one man, Creon. Creon was lead to his downfall because of his own actions and arrogance making him the tragic hero in story of Antigone. A tragic hero by definition is a noble character with a tragic flaw. He is the tragic hero of Antigone because he is noble, he has a tragic flaw, and he is brought down the most.First of all, Creon is the

Oedipus: The Reign of a Tragic Hero

1667 words - 7 pages characteristics that complete Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero; these being the presence of hamartia and peripeteia, a sense of self-awareness, the audience’s pity for the character, and the hero is of noble birth. Greek Tragedy Theater rose to its peak in Athens around the 5th century BCE. This history of the theater came from the citizens wanting to honor their gods with traditional stories, however, the tragedies were most often

Creon The Tragic Hero of Sophocles Antigone

728 words - 3 pages Creon The Tragic Hero of Sophocles Antigone Every Greek tragedy must have a tragic hero. In Sophocle’s play, Antigone, the most tragic hero is Creon. He is an essentially good man of high position who takes pride in his role as king. He possesses the tragic flaws of excessive pride and an oversized ego. This causes the tragic reversal that leads to his emotional ruin and eventual remorse and repentance. As King of Thebes, Creon is forced

Similar Essays

Depiction Of A Tragic Hero In Hamlet

1786 words - 7 pages The Depiction of a Tragic Hero in William Shakespeare?s Hamlet.I. Introduction A. Definition of a tragic hero B. Discussion on Hamlet II. Hamlet?s Personal Experiences A. Family 1. Father?s Death 2. Mother?s Marriage B. Others 1. Ophelia 2. Polonius III. Hamlet?s Dilemma A. Meeting with the Ghost B. Avenging His Father?s Death IV. Conclusion Page 1 The definition of a hero in the dictionary is one who is praised by his good deeds. A ?tragic hero

Hamlet As A Tragic Hero Essay

776 words - 4 pages irrational decisions that led to the death of numerous people, some innocent, some guilty. Despite all of the wrong decisions he made with terrible consequences that went along with it, Hamlet finally received the revenge he wanted and this is why he is considered a tragic hero. Hamlet has three characteristics about him that proves he is a tragic hero: His fall is caused by some error in judgment, his fall is a result of his own free choice, and his

The Tragic Hero "Death Of A Salesman" By Arthur Miller And "Hamlet" By Shakespeare

926 words - 4 pages Our modern understanding of tragedy and tragic heroes is derived from the writings of the Ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle in his famous "poetics". Although Aristotle considered Sophocles' Oedipus to be the ideal tragic hero, Shakespeare's Hamlet, written many centuries later, has many of the same elements.Aristotle defined the tragic hero as an honourable protagonist with a fatal flaw or "harmartia" which eventually leads to his demise. The

Character Analysis Of Hamlet As A Tragic Hero In Shakespeare's "Tragedy Of Hamlet: Prince Of Denmark"

740 words - 3 pages Hamlet is not the usual tragic hero that Shakespeare liked to use in his works. In "The Tragedy of Hamlet: Prince of Denmark" he does not die an evil man, but is complemented by Horatio and Fortinbras. There are many different thoughts on what Hamlet's tragic flaw is; jealousy, inaction, and insanity are all accepted as possibilities. Jealously and inaction are very plausible, but Hamlet was not insane.Hamlet is in love with his mother Gertrude