Characteristics Of Hamlet As A Tragic Hero

Great Essays
Hamlet’s Character as a Tragic Hero
Tragedy is one of the major and one of the most popular genres of theatre. It was basically popularized by the greatest playwright of all ages, William Shakespeare. Tragedies are a kind of plays based on human sufferings and audience feel pity for the characters as the play goes on. The protagonist of a tragedy or a revenge tragedy is a noble person, often called as ‘tragic hero’. Basically a tragic hero is someone who suffers a lot of mental and physical traumas during the play and sometime meets with a very tragic death. According to John Kelly, a tragic hero is, “Someone who begins in a state of prosperity comes into contact with a force much larger than he is, and then, for the tragic part, undergoes
…show more content…
The character of Hamlet is considered as one of most complex fictional character created by William Shakespeare. Every time we see and examine the character, we find some new traits in it. Hamlet is like an enigma. No matter how many times it is analyzed, the real color of Hamlet’s character is never found. On one hand, hamlet is miserable young man, in self imposed exile from the society and on the other he is the hero for the people of Denmark. He is enthusiastic, energetic, and bold and at the same time, he is also miserable, angry and suicidal who is not really happy with his life. He is a very good observant and can play very well at twisting and manipulating …show more content…
Hubris or excessive pride is one of the major characteristics of a tragic hero. According to this characteristic, the tragic hero has to suffer more than he deserves because of his arrogance. However this trait is not found in Hamlet’s character. Throughout the play, Hamlet is given self doubt. Many times Shakespeare manages to show his lack of confidence regarding the revenge. There are many other minor traits which add something to his character as a tragic hero. These traits are-
• Hero must suffer more than he deserves.
• Hero must be doomed from the start, but bears no responsibility for possessing his flaw.
• Hero must be noble in nature, but imperfect so that the audience can see themselves in him.
• Hero must have discovered his fate by his own actions, not by things happening to him.
• Hero must understand his doom, as well as the fact that his fate was discovered by his own actions.
• Hero's story should arouse fear and empathy.
• Hero must be physically or spiritually wounded by his experiences, often resulting in his death.
• The hero must be intelligent so he may learn from his mistakes.
• The hero must have a weakness, usually it is pride.
• He has to be faced with a very serious decision that he has to

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    Everything throughout the play until Act 3 played according Hamlet’s desires. However, at the point he got greedy and wanted Claudius to suffer more he became a tragic flaw within the play. Hamlet has to suffer and experience great emotional pain towards his role as a tragic hero that all resulted from him losing control. Hamlet becomes corrupt by his own tragic desire for vengeance. However, the death of a tragic hero occurs when a hero of a story achieves their final goal, but not in a way they had imagined which usually involves tremendous sacrifice.…

    • 1266 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Hamlet's Tragic Analysis

    • 1421 Words
    • 6 Pages

    At first glance, William Shakespeare’s world-renowned play, Hamlet, appears to be a tragic tale about a boy-prince gone mad. As readers continue on after the first act, Hamlet’s unfortunate life becomes increasingly more obvious. Moreover, throughout the course of the play, the young prince Hamlet appears to be not only impulsive but also inappropriately melodramatic in comparison to all the other characters in the play. Even more so, his actions seem to be devoid of any rhyme or reason. Without further consideration, it can be easily concluded that the traumatized boy-prince has suffered so much that he has been driven mad; however, this is not the case.…

    • 1421 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Oedipus Tragic Flaw

    • 585 Words
    • 3 Pages

    The downfall of mankind is an essential part of comprehending human nature. If there is nothing tragic, then inversely there is little happiness to be taken from comedy. Nonetheless, every tragedy requires a hero with a tragic flaw. The protagonist being human makes the character relatable and even more pitiful because the audience is aware that his inevitable downfall is to come. His tragic flaw not only harms himself but harms others in the story as well.…

    • 585 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In this sense, Hamlet can often be seen as an oddity compared to the rest of the royal family that of Claudius, Gertrude, etc. Hamlet is portrayed as a character who does indeed start of with a firm moral compass, at least so compared to the rest of the royal family, yet as the play progresses his moral compass deteriorated quite quickly as shown by him murdering Polonius, being involved in the unjust death of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and continuous lying and manipulation. Yet even throughout all of this, his moral compass is still quite evident albeit weekend as he shows deep regret throughout the play for his actions, and can even explain why he fails to act. Therefore Hamlet has “an innate knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil, which explains why he is hesitant to murder Claudius. He vacillates due to his own moral code in the midst of a spiritual and psychological crisis that he undergoes” (Cameron).…

    • 1120 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Tragic Flaws In Hamlet

    • 441 Words
    • 2 Pages

    To Act or Not To Act: Tragic Flaws in “Hamlet” “Conscience doth make cowards of us all,” (Shakespeare 3.1.83). This quote from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a starting point to show a main characters tragic flaws. For Hamlet, the main character in the play, he often procrastinates in completing tasks. Moreover, even once he completes an action he tends to overthink his decision. By allowing Hamlet to have destructive flaws, one being procrastination and the second being indecisiveness it shows that these flaws bring Hamlet to his downfall.…

    • 441 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Through the tragic flaws, the downfall, suffering, and redeeming qualities, Oedipus falls from great heights to restore the order back to Thebes. Oedipus reveals the true characteristics of a tragic hero. Sophocles makes it clear that sometimes it is better to be blinded by the truth because the truth can be a lot more devastating. Oedipus went from a righteous king to a man that has nothing left but an ego and darkness. Oedipus’ downfall was not in the hands of god but it was in the hands of his own.…

    • 1296 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    In the early 1600’s, William Shakespeare wrote “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” also known as “Hamlet”, considered to be one of his greatest pieces of work. “Hamlet”, known to be a revengeful, tragedy play; Hamlet, the protagonist is known generally and agreed upon to be William Shakespeare’s most fascinating tragic hero. “Hamlet” is about a prince who tries to avenge his father 's murder, but in the end, his madness and indecisiveness takes its toll on everyone involved. In “Hamlet”, Shakespeare gives us a character driven by his emotions, which cause him to create such relationships with the other characters, bringing out Hamlet, as well as to help us understand his values and ideals, and the reason why he is a tragic hero in this play. Hamlet…

    • 1085 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He is potent; he kills the king, marries the queen, and gets everything that he desires. Compared to Claudius, Hamlet is extremely impotent. He misses opportunities, for example, when he could have killed Claudius during prayer but failed. He often falls short of his and everyone else’s expectations. The contrast between Hamlet and Claudius shows both Hamlet’s impotence as well as the similarities present between the two characters.…

    • 1514 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Both Oedipus and Hamlet showcase these characteristics at the beginning of the play. These qualities reveal the genuinely good nature of the two men. They were determined to find the truth whether it be to remain loyal to their people, their fathers, or even themselves. However, these qualities turned into tragic flaws because Oedipus and Hamlet allowed the determination to overrule their thoughts and actions enough to where they both were eventually pushed to the brink of insanity. Oedipus began the play doing it for himself, the Gods, and his people, but his determination to primarily do it for himself caused him to fall.…

    • 801 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    “ According to the critic, a tragic hero has three prominent characteristics: (1) a will-power that surpasses that of average people, (2) an exceptionally intense power of feel- ing, and (3) and unusually high level of intelli- gence.”(George Detmold 219) With being a tragic hero, come a tragic flaw. A tragic flaw is a trait of the main character that leads to his or her downfall. A character with a tragic flaw is in need of an attitude adjustment. In the play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, is about a tragic hero named Hamlet, but he soon became mad over…

    • 978 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays