Hamlet and His Characteristics

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Akshay Koshy
ENG3U1-01
Mr. Filiputti
January, 16, 2012

Hamlet- The classic Tragic Hero
“A hero is a man who does what he can.” 
Romain Rolland
What is a tragic hero? Are tragic heroes considered to have better qualities, and yet suffer from the many shortcomings of life? I believe that a classic tragic hero is a person that has many excellent qualities for a hero, and yet dies due to the mistakes that he makes. As Romain said, “A hero is a man who does what he can” and Hamlet is a perfect example on how he had to give up everything to commit to his revenge. This is why I believe Hamlet is the perfect classic tragic hero, because although he did not do anything that was wrong, he still suffered and died because of his characteristics. This is why I believe that the seven soliloquies of Hamlet, show the progression of his characteristics, and show the multiple qualities of a hero, thus making him a perfect example of a classic tragic hero. The first soliloquy in Hamlet (Act I, Scene II), talks about the suffering that Hamlet is going through as he realizes that his father is dead and his mother has married his uncle. “But two months dead! — nay, not so much, not two:

So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr;” (I. II. 137-140)
Hamlet doesn’t get why his mother married so fast and gets extremely mad about that. He wonders if she even loved his father and this causes his to think about suicide, but back in the Elizabethan era, suicide was looked down upon, which is seen in Act I, Scene II, Line 132-133. “…His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! O God!

How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!”
This is the only reason why Hamlet can’t kill himself. Hamlet felt that he was the only one that thought that this marriage was an unnatural and starts to dislikes Claudius. Back in the day, women were not allowed to marry after their husbands died, so when Gertrude marries Claudius, Hamlet feels that something weird was going on. “Would have mourn'd longer…dexterity to incestuous sheets!” (I.II.151-157) I think that he felt that his mother only married Claudius so that she wasn’t alone at nights and so that she could still remain queen over Denmark. He also doesn’t think Claudius can compare to his dad and a beginning of hatred and disgust rises within Hamlet for both Gertrude and Claudius.

The first soliloquy also shows the multiple good qualities that develop Hamlet as the play goes on. “It is not, nor it cannot come to good; But break my heart, — for I must hold my tongue!”(I.II.158-159) This is the first main quality that Hamlet, he knows when to speak his mind and only talks about his true self with only people he trusts like Horatio, and yet that might be the reason he was able to kill Claudius in the end, it also the reason why Ophelia and Gertrude died too. Since Ophelia died because she felt that Hamlet didn’t love her the way she did to him. His mother thought that Hamlet was really mad, and tried to help him in many a way, one of them was to drink the cup that would promote Hamlets health but which was actually poisoned. This is how the first soliloquy helps in developing his characteristics while showing his true qualities. The second soliloquy(Act 1, Scene 5) in Hamlet which takes place in Act I, Scene V, which when the ghost of his father tells him that he was murdered, and how he was murdered and, who killed him. He doesn’t believe that his father was murdered by Claudius when he says, “O all you host of heaven! O earth! what else? And shall I couple hell? O, fie! — Hold, my heart ;”( I.V.92-93) He never thought that Claudius would commit murder to get the throne of Denmark, and he understands why he and his mother married so fast. “O most pernicious woman! O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!”(I.V.105-106) This is the beginning of his hatred towards Claudius, and this is also where he swears to the ghost to kill Claudius. Hamlet...
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