Hamlet Culminating Assignments
What do Othello, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet all have in common? They are all widely regarded as tragic heroes. "A tragic hero should be noble, yet flawed. His flaw(s) should in some way be responsible for his downfall. Overall, however, a tragic hero should be a morally good person." Many audiences consider William Shakespeare's Hamlet to be a tragedy. However, according to the above definition, this play's protagonist does not function as a tragic hero. For the majority of the play, Hamlet lacks moral goodness and nobility, which makes him unsuitable for the role of a tragic hero. One reason that Hamlet is not a tragic hero is because he lacks moral goodness. Hamlet shows this by being unforgiving when he sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to be executed by the English. This is shown when he says "Without debatement further, more or less,/ He should those bearers put to sudden death,/ Not shriving time allowed." (V.ii. 45-47). He puts Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to death because they acted as spies for Claudius and betrayed Hamlet's friendship. Without any hesitation at all, Hamlet altered the letter to send them to death and he gave them to chance to ask for forgiveness. If he was truly a tragic hero, he would have gave his good friends a second chance rather than having them executed. Another way he lacks moral goodness is because he is selfish. In the nunnery scene, he acts selfish because he imposes the idea of her going to the nunnery based on his feelings not hers. He says "Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be/ a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest" (III.i. 121-122). In those lines, he judges her based on her being a woman saying that she should go to a nunnery because she would be a breeder on sinners. The moment she returned the gifts to Hamlet, his actions changed. He started telling her what to do and commanding her to go to the nunnery. A tragic hero would have understood and...
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