Draw yourself a Venn diagram and use it to note similarities and differences between the two characters, Hamlet and Agamemnon. Do this on your own now and complete it thoroughly. As part of your analysis, consider how the following elements of tragedy are used in each play. (Remember, this is what you learned in Lesson 1.) Aristotle’s four components of tragedy:
It involves someone of higher standing.
This protagonist makes an error in judgement.
This error results in suffering for the person.
This suffering causes pity or fear in the audience.
If you have forgotten what a Venn diagram looks like, here is an example to remind you.
If your Venn diagram contained some of these points, you have been successful in your analysis. These are just sketches of ideas to show a variety of possibilities…your own work should be more carefully organized.
Hamlet takes revenge.
Both plays are about a prince or king, who is clearly someone of high status. Agamemnon is the victim of revenge.
Hamlet tends to be humble yet plots the death of a king.
Both tragic heroes make an error of judgement.
Agamemnon shows hubris by walking on the red carpet and taking a concubine yet he is a known daughter-killer. Several of the murders in Hamletoccur on-stage.
Both Agamemnon and Hamlet suffer and die.
The two murders inAgamemnon occur off-stage.
Hamlet has more admirable qualities than Agamemnon appears to have. The audience feels pity for both men.
We don’t learn many positive things about Agamemnon other than his popularity and battle victories. Hamlet involves subplots, such as the plight of Ophelia.
The fortunes of both men are suddenly reversed and they are put in a vulnerable position with their murders being plotted. Agamemnon does not involve subplots.
The women in Hamlet, while important, are minor characters with little dialogue. Both Hamlet and Agamemnon hurt the women in their lives.
The women inAgamemnon have more prominent roles in the plot, with many lines of dialogue. Hamlet seems more torn and reluctant to take revenge.
Both Clytemnestra and Hamlet are motivated by revenge for the wrongful death of a loved one and they use deceit as part of their plans. Clytemnestra looks forward to the task of revenge.
Hamlet has never been emotionally close to his uncle Claudius. Clytemnestra and Hamlet put aside any previous feelings of love for others as they focus on their task of revenge Clytemnestra has had a much closer relationship with Agamemnon, than Hamlet had with Claudius. The events of Hamlet take place over many months
Both Cassandra and Ophelia are innocent victims, and capture the pity of the audience The events ofAgamemnon occur in one day.
Prince Hamlet’s revenge restores order in the afterlife for the ghost of the dead king. He also restores order in Denmark by ridding the country of a wrongful king (Claudius). The Chorus’ dismay reflects the unrest caused by Agamemnon’s murder; similarly, Denmark has been in a time of unrest ever since King Hamlet’s murder. Clytemnestra’s revenge causes disorder and unrest
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