A Tragic Flaw In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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Hamlet has brought about his own fate, and the fate of Denmark, with his hamartia, or tragic flaw. Having just lost his father to poisoning by his own uncle Claudius, Hamlet seeks out to avenge his death by almost any means necessary. Having been raised as nobility, he is very well trained with education and he is, perhaps, the most intelligent and cautious person in this play. While Hamlet is very smart and extensively plans his revenge on his uncle and he succeeds, he still manages to get almost everyone important in the castle at Elsinore killed. There is more than one flaw that brought the fall of Denmark, but the biggest one is Hamlet’s hesitation to kill Claudius, which results in the death of most around him. The motive for revenge …show more content…
This would make his main flaw his hesitation to act on his thoughts. At first, Hamlet is skeptical because he believes the nature of ghosts to trap innocents into doing deeds that get one sent to hell shown by him being “aware of the unreliability of otherworldly apparitions and consequently reluctant to heed the ghost’s injunction to perform an action that to him seems objectively evil.” (Foster 1). His second concern with the action is that he was raised as a Protestant and went to the University of Martin Luther and he was taught that revenge was for god to take, not humankind. In the beginning of act III scene 1, there is a soliloquy given about his own thoughts of suicide, but it was not blatantly put out there to “keep him available as a hero, since, were he were to make his suicidal musings explicit and personal, he presumably would be too questionable for many in any audience to maintain their belief in his heroic potential.” (Corum …show more content…
While it is still his hesitation that brings about the fall of those around him, it is also one of the reasons he can be seen as a reluctant hero. Being unwilling to act without cause, he still feels he needs to give Claudius what’s coming to him. Initially after the play that was put on, Hamlet saw Claudius’s response and is sure of his guilt. Yet, he catches the King praying afterwards and fails to commit because he is hoping to get a confession so that he has literally no doubt and that maybe his uncle felt guilty. Soon after he leaves Claudius in prayer it is revealed that he was not praying successfully or sincerely by stating “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”(97-98). After seeing Fortinbras and his army, Hamlet wishes he had taken his revenge much sooner and feels guilty he has trouble completing it after his father was murdered in cold blood. With this, he vows to get the job done and that he will make it

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