Hamlet - the Tragic Hero

Topics: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Prince Hamlet Pages: 4 (1203 words) Published: October 20, 2008
The Tragic Hero

The playwright William Shakespeare reveals a tragic hero in his greatest tragedy "Hamlet". This hero is the young prince Hamlet. He fulfills all of Aristotle’s requirements for a tragic hero. Three key events in the play demonstrate these requirements: First, when Hamlet does not murder Claudius at his first opportunity after being asked by his father’s ghost, Secondly, his confrontation with Ophelia regarding her returning his gifts, and lastly his reaction to Claudius’s plot against his life when he suspects that Hamlet has discovered that he was the murderer. Hamlet has believes in his own freedom, a supreme pride, a capacity for suffering, and a sense of commitment. He also energetically protests his situation, undergoes a transfiguration, and finds a deeper understanding of the human condition. Hence, Hamlet is a tragic hero. Hamlet has a belief in his own freedom. He has the courage to make a decision and to accept the consequences of that decision. When the ghost of King Hamlet entreats his son to seek revenge upon Claudius, “So thou art to revenge, when thou shalt hear.” (I, v), he does. However, the thoughtful and reflective Hamlet waits for proof of Claudius murdering King Hamlet before making his decision, There is a play tonight before the King. One scene comes near the circumstance which I have told thee, of my father’s death. I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot, even with the very comment of the soul observe my uncle. If his occulted guilt do not inkennel in one speech it is a damned ghost that we have seen. (III. ii)

Once Hamlet decides the ghost is real and truthful, he goes through with revenge. He has faith in his choice and in what he was doing, even though he knows that there is the risk of dying in the process. Hamlet avoids almost certain death more than once in trying to fulfill his task.

The discovery of Hamlet’s immense pride is in events of the play and in his personality traits. He...
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