Perception of a Tragic Hero: "Hamlet"

Essay by spinzHigh School, 12th gradeB+, April 2007

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Perceptions and understanding of Shakespearean language evolve as time passes. It is reasonable to believe that Laertes is more of a tragic hero than Hamlet. In order for this to be seen effectively, a comparison must be made between Laertes and Hamlet. In the play Hamlet, Laertes is a character who grabs the audience's attention. His devotion to succeed, despite disadvantages is both motivational and tragic situations, is inspirational to some extent. His portrayal as the antagonist is very effective in conveying the message that, the easy way may not always be the right path to pursue. In the end, people are accountable for their own actions. To Laertes, the urge to avenge a loved ones death was worth taking, and is understandable in all cultures. One must remember that Laertes is not only after revenge, but also after loyalty to avenge. If Laertes were to take revenge on Hamlet, this would show only that he is interested in satisfying his own needs.

However, by performing these acts in the name of loyalty, Laertes is ensuring that his father Polonius does not die in vain. Laertes can be thought of as more of a tragic hero than Hamlet due to greater loss in his fall, the fact that he is optimistic, his nobility and him showing a tragic flaw.

A tragic hero must show a considerable loss in their fall. Hamlet went through many hardships. He lost everyone close to him, but sustained his legacy. This differs from Laertes who simply died. Unlike Hamlet, who was carried out "like a soldier, to the stage; For he was likely, had he been put on, To have proved most royally," (V, II, 390-392). Laertes was forgotten. There was no one to remember his legacy, and because of this, Laertes has more...