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Hamlets As A Tragic Hero Essay

888 words - 4 pages

Tragic Senses in Hamlet
In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the playwright is set with a tragic tone in a corrupt society. Hamlet, a grieving prince, is the central character whose wrongdoing, if it can be called that, is not obliging to his megalomaniac uncle who murdered his own brother for power. Movingly, the play’s theme of how one’s tragic flaw will inevitably lead to self-destruction demonstrates that even with the best intentions in mind, ones actions will be considered a crime in a biased civilization, like olden Denmark, until proven otherwise. The significance of this theme helps prove, along with Vindenov’s essay, how Hamlet fits the tragic hero role.
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Hamlets death. The prince’s constant scrutiny and consideration results in his idling and procrastination. While he should constantly be striving for action, Hamlet remains mostly inactive throughout the play, losing every opportunity to fight for his cause. The reader learns that he is aware of his hamartia when he says “O what a rogue and peasant slave am I!” (Shakespeare II.ii.544) Hamlet is consistent with his plan all throughout the play, and achieved his goal of avenging his father’s death in his final breaths. Although Hamlet was murdered, he killed Claudius and died a noble death. Hamlet abides the set standards of a tragic hero that is considered authoritative, the one found in Aristotle’s Poetics.
In spite of the first sentence of Vindenov’s essay being “Hamlet is unquestionably a tragedy”, he further goes on to discuss how Hamlet does not thoroughly fit the description of a tragedy. He believes that Hamlet is a tragic hero, “He is the tragic hero par excellence, the one that most readily comes to mind” (Vindenov 5), however it is debatable whether the play itself would be considered a tragedy. Vindenov discusses T.S Eliot’s stance which states that “it ultimately involves judgement” (Vindenov 1) to determine whether or not Hamlet is a tragedy. Eliot also says “the work of art cannot be interpreted” (Vindenov 1) which gives the reader the idea that he doesn’t believe Hamlet is a tragedy as further on in the essay Eliot makes many more arguments against it being a tragic play. Though Vindenov...

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