The Tragic Character Of Hamlet In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

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Hamlet is perhaps one of the greatest tragedies of all. It stars, possibly, one of the weakest heroes literature has ever known. Hamlet is a typical, tragically flawed character, but what is it that makes him tragic? The answer to this question lies in the play’s writing itself, specifically the contrasts that Shakespeare used. Hamlet contrasts greatly with other characters present in the play and with what he sees around himself. These overwhelming differences are what set Hamlet apart and further reinforce his characterization as tragic. Hamlet contrasts with Fortinbras and Laertes, as well as his uncle King Claudius. Contrast is also present in the lines of Claudius, as well as existing in Hamlet and Ophelia’s cases of madness. Lastly, …show more content…
In his speech to the people of Denmark, concerning the recent death of the old king, he states that, “The memory [of King Hamlet’s death] be green” (I.ii.2). The usage of the word “green” shows the double meanings present in Claudius’s lines. Green can mean “fresh and new”, but also be representational of envy and jealousy. This illuminates the multiple story angles present within the play. Whether Hamlet is killing Claudius for greed or revenge is brought to question. As well as whether the ghost is real or not and should or should not be trusted. Hamlet faces a choice between two paths periodically. This is illustrated by the two interpretations that one could make of the word “green”. In the same speech, Claudius remarks about “Mirth in funeral and dirge in marriage” (I.ii.12). The reversal of two accepted stereotypes, joy in a marriage and lamenting in a funeral, shows the actual complexity of Claudius’ character. He contrasts himself with his own words and establishes a metaphor that becomes a recurring theme in the play: the difference between outward appearance and inward …show more content…
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. Both Hamlet and the King hide behind deception. Claudius uses double meanings and manipulation to mask his actions. At the same time, Hamlet pretends to me mad in order to deceive Claudius and the court. By observing the differences between the two characters, the reader is able to grasp the fine moral line that Hamlet walks and its effect on his

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