May 21st, 2013
Hamlets Tragic Flaws
In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the characters of Fortinbras, Laertes, and Claudius contrast the imperfections of Hamlet through their own success due to their starvation for power, making Hamlet appear vulnerable. Success is accomplished through Fortinbras strong willed assertiveness, Laertes loyalty towards his sister, and Claudius’s ignorance of moral law. Clashing personalities between two people creates conflict of who is right and who is wrong. Fortinbras is an assertive and headstrong character, while Hamlet believes in fair play in order to get what one wants. Horatio speaks to Marcellus and Barnardo about Fortinbras tough interior when saying, “Now sir, young Fortinbras, / Of unimproved mettle, hot and full, / Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there/ Shark’d up a list of lawless resolutes.” (1.1 98-101) Horatio is stating that young Fortinbras is going to seize all of the land that his now dead father lost. Fortinbras is a leader. This is clear because he has an army of people willing to conquer Norway with him. He is trying to get back what rightfully belongs to his family. Fortinbras is taking a step that Hamlet does not. Fortinbras does not play fair because he brings his army and tries to Zacchigna 2 take over the land while Hamlet takes action by contemplating suicide. Fortinbras takes big risks when he ‘takes over’ the land, which shows his purpose of aggression is to better himself. Fortinbras is not afraid of the unknown, opposed to Hamlet who is scared about what is happening next. Hamlet is very lost and confused, which is why people like Fortinbras walk all over people like Hamlet. Hamlet speaks to himself about how much of a coward he is when he says, “To be, or not to be, that is the question: / Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, / Or to take arms against a sea of troubles/ And by opposing end them.” (3.1 56-60) Hamlet contemplates suicide. This is already a sign of weakness Hamlet possesses. Hamlet feels the world around him is harsh and he suffers from it physically and mentally. Hamlet feels suicide is desirable, but he does not know what the afterlife brings. Hamlets fear of the unknown is why he is in this mess. Fortinbras does what he does because he is not afraid; he is not a coward like Hamlet. Hamlet has a hard life, but he gives up. This is another characteristic Fortinbras does not have. If Fortinbras gives up, his whole army of men and the power he possesses vanishes with him. If Fortinbras gives up, it ends the success he has. Fortinbras is successful over Hamlet because he does not once contemplate suicide. When times are tough Fortinbras toughens up, on the other hand, Hamlet cries like a baby to himself. Fortinbras highlights Hamlets ability of running away from problems because he intimidates Hamlet enough making Hamlet feel insecure and suicidal. Therefore, Fortinbras does not give Hamlet a fighting chance, which is why Fortinbras is successfully powerful in Hamlet’s eyes. Zacchigna 3 Loyalty towards family members shows what one will do for their family. Laertes has unconditional love for his sister Ophelia, but Hamlets love for Ophelia can be questioned due to the way he acts towards Ophelia’s death. Laertes shows his concerns to Ophelia about Hamlet saying, “Perhaps he loves you now,/ And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch/ The virtue of his will; but you must fear,/ His greatness weigh’d, his will is not his own.” (1.3 14-17) Laertes is Ophelia’s brother. They are bounded by blood, and this is not changeable. Laertes loves his sister regardless,...