William Shakespeare: Is Hamlet a hero?

Essay by Bandit46High School, 12th gradeA, June 2006

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The character Shakespeare created in "Hamlet" is one who has many paradoxical qualities, but his heroic tendencies outweigh his weak and more emotional qualities. Hamlet exhibits many characteristics of a tragic hero, his tragic flaw is what would make it seem as though he is weak when in reality it is what classifies him as a tragic hero. His tragic flaw is that he never chooses to do what he really wants to do; his indecisiveness causes him to fail himself in what he wants to do to avenge his father's death. There are many examples which disprove the characterization of Hamlet as a "weak sentimentalist". The actions he makes throughout the course of the play prove that he is a true hero.

Every Shakespeare tragedy has a character that can be best described as a tragic hero. They tend to have noble status, something to make the reader respect them.

They also have a tragic flaw, a characteristic that not only will lead to their downfall but also makes the reader sympathize with their situation. Hamlet's father was a king, giving him royal status and a respectable spot in the political ladder within the play. Hamlet is courageous and loyal, both things that make him heroic. The loyalty Hamlet shows for his father after his death leads to his hatred toward his "uncle-father" (II.II.374), Claudius, after he marries his mother. He swears he will kill him but often hesitates when the chance arises. The intelligence shown by Hamlet in outsmarting the King's plots to kill him also show that he is a hero; he is always a step ahead of his uncle. For example, when Hamlet is to be sent to England to be killed he changes the letter the King has written ordering his...