Is Hamlet a Hero

Topics: Hero, Courage, Characters in Hamlet Pages: 7 (2686 words) Published: March 12, 2011
Hamlet Hero Paper
I. My concept of a hero
Hamlet, as one of the most eminent plays in history, possesses an intricate conflict between the protagonists and antagonists. Nonetheless, there is confusion about who the protagonists and the antagonists are, and how heroes should be defined in this well-known play. Heroes, for a long time in my life, have been defined as people who are able to do supernatural, super-human work in favor of the public.

My favorite hero was, and still is, the amazing superhero Spiderman. As a relatable college student, Peter Parker gains a superpower with a bite of a spider. With his superpower, he saves the city, attains the love of his lifelong crush, and gains the favor of the public. As a young boy, I looked up to Spiderman, thinking that he is the best man that could ever exist on earth. Spiderman, or Peter Parker, once said “Not everyone is meant to make a difference. But for me, the choice to lead an ordinary life is no longer an option”, and to Mary Jane, said “Then you know why we can't be together. Spider Man will always have enemies. I can't let you take that risk. I will always be Spider Man. You and I can never be...” (Spiderman). These lines made me thirst for more Spiderman and have imprinted his magnificent image in my brain as the greatest hero.

This hero created 8 years ago by Marvel comics created an image in my head that heroes are simply people who have gained the favor of the public. As the epitome of a hero, Spiderman, with his brawny, agile senses, seems to fight his troubles from the point he realizes his power. Hamlet, however, totally changed my concept of a hero. Assuming that Hamlet is a hero, he is simply portrayed as a normal man born of royalty, without any superpowers. Although he is the prince, as the protagonist, he has less public favor than the king, the antagonist. Moreover, not only did he not take care of whom he loved, but he led her to a state of madness, which eventually lead to her death. This made me wonder if the protagonist in this book was truly a hero or not. Looking into one of the most recognized dictionaries, I found these definitions of a hero: 1. “A man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. 2. A person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal: He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child. 3. The principal male character in a story, play, film, etc. 4. Classical Mythology.

a. A being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity. b. (In the Homeric period) a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability. c. (In later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod.

5. Hero sandwich.
6. The bread or roll used in making a hero sandwich.” ( Considering the fact that only a few people would consider Hamlet as a godlike being, a sandwich, or a piece of bread, looking at the first three definitions would be the best choice. Since the play itself is called Hamlet, I think that it is wise to call Hamlet “the principal male character” in the play, according to the third definition. The first two definitions of Hamlet is the main dispute of whether or not Hamlet was truly a hero.

The two main deeds that define a hero in this definition are braveness and nobility. This, however, is not enough to be the definition of a hero. Adolf Hitler was brave and noble, according to what the Nazis thought. Nonetheless, when we look back in history, his image is far from a hero, and is even characterized as an anti-social racist that led a huge genocide, killing millions of Jews. Therefore, I believe that a hero should be not only brave and noble, but also willing to dedicate his life for the greater good, especially the good of others.

Especially in Hamlet, the main thing that convinces me that Hamlet was a hero was the fact...

Cited: 1. "Hero | Define Hero at" | Find the Meanings and
Definitions of Words at Web. 05 Dec. 2010.
2. Hitler, Adolf. "Years of Study and Suffering in Vienna." 2001. Mein Kampf. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001. 64. Print.
3. Spider-Man. Dir. Sam Raimi. Perf. Toby Maguire. Marvel, 2002. Film.
4. "Why Hamlet Is A Hero." Slashdoc. Jgomer3, 23 Oct. 2002. Web. 06 Dec. 2010. <>.
5. Bolt, Sydney. William Shakespeare, Hamlet. London, England: Penguin, 1990. Print.
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