An essay on Shakespeare's "Hamlet" as a tragic hero

Essay by sweetld215High School, 12th grade December 2003

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According to Aristotle a tragic hero must have tragic flaws in their character or judgment that leads him to his doom. In Shakespeare's play "Hamlet" there are many tragic flaws identified within the main character, Hamlet. Some of the most obvious and important are Hamlet's indecisiveness, his excessive concern with death, and his exaggerated moral sensibility which ties in with his abhorrence of sex.

Hamlet's indecisiveness is portrayed throughout the tragedy in many ways. The most prominent being his delay in avenging his father's death. When the ghost first appears to Hamlet, and tells him to avenge his death by killing his murderer, Claudius; Hamlet says, "Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swift As meditation or the thoughts of love, May sweep to my revenge." (pg59, lines 29-31) Hamlet is ready to murder Claudius and avenge the death of Hamlet Sr. However, at the end of the scene Hamlet delays his decision to kill Claudius by saying,

"...The time is out of joint. O cursed spite, That ever I was born to set it right!..." (pg 64 lines 188-89) The players (actors) come to Elsinore, and it has been a while since Hamlet promised the ghost that he would take revenge. He sees how the first player weeps as he relays the story of Queen Hecuba and he is angry that he hasn't taken action for the death of his father. He calls himself a coward and tried to work himself into a rage by calling Claudius a "...Bloody, bawdy villain!..." but he realizes that he is still only talking and not taking any action. "...Why, what an ass am I! That is most brave, That I, the son of a dear father murdered, Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell, Must, like a whore,