Hamlet's Hesitation as his Tragic Flaw in Hamlet by Shakespeare
In the play Hamlet, Hamlet is described as daring, brave, loyal, and intelligent. However, he is always consumed by his own thoughts, this being his tragic flaw. There are numerous times Hamlet does not act when he should, like his inability to act on his father's murder, his mother's marriage, and his uncle's assuming of the throne.
'Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder,' says the ghost of Hamlet. The fact that his own uncle could kill his father leaves Hamlet dumbfounded and confused. Although Hamlet knows something is wrong in Denmark, he begins to question everything that the ghost has told him. When something is needed to be done, Hamlet is to busy thinking about his problems. An example of this is when Hamlet has his knife over the head of Claudius, and is prepared to murder him. He talks himself out of it. Instead, Hamlet writes a play in which the actors play out the same story that the ghost told Hamlet. This is when his tragic flaw, his hesitance to act, actually comes into play. His plan is to study Claudius's reaction to the play to determine his guilt. However, after Hamlet decides his uncle is guilty, he still does nothing. This would have been a great time to confront Claudius, but Hamlet seems more interested in taking credit for what he did instead of seeking revenge. By putting on that play Hamlet has plenty enough evidence to show Claudius was guilty, therefore he should have carried out his revenge as soon as possible, but again, his thoughts take over. This should have been the final piece of action for Hamlet to avenge his father?s death. Hamlet should have then stabbed Claudius the moment he knew he was guilty. This would.
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. Away" and Hamlet was sure of his uncle?s guilt. This was the perfect time for Hamlet to face Claudius. The king was in a difficult state and could have been easily dethroned. Unfortunately, Hamlet decides to speak to his mother instead, thus putting Hamlet in an emotional state of mind and giving Claudius time to re-think his options. Hamlet should have never allowed this for Claudius. He could have stopped all of the pain he caused himself if he would have just acted out his revenge as soon as he could.
Although Hamlet seemed to be superior in all other characteristics, his one flaw cost him his life. Without doubt, it cost the lives of many others as well. If Hamlet could have taken immediate action, many deaths could have been avoided. Although Hamlet succeeds in his revenge, his procrastination proves to be his flaw in every event that took place.
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Aristotle 's definition for a tragic hero is one who is not in control of his own fate. but instead is ruled by the gods in one fashion or another. The tragic hero for Aristotle is tragic because of their lack of control or will in the face of their predetermined future and downfall. It can be contested that Hamlet was not a true hero as the Elizabethan Era relinquished his control over to his father. Since Hamlet is controlled by fate and not by choice. his heroism is not truly that of
a free will. He therefore is not a hero but a pawn for Fate His actions are not controlled by his own will but instead are parlayed into the compartments of the hierarchy of gods. of wishes and destiny. A man knows himself through the choice and follow through of his own actions. Hamlet does choose revenge but in this he is guided and pushed by his father 's ghost. As Horatio contends. after Hamlet 's departure to bare witness to his father 's ghosts. He waxes desperate with imagination (Act One. Scene Four. line 87. In this simple phrase is found the rudimentary beginnings of Hamlet 's downfall. In Hamlet 's imagination there is a world of difference between the reality of the play and what the reader is led to believe through Hamlet 's soliloquies Hamlet. then. is not a true hero
In Oedipus there is another case of fate controlling the destiny of man. Due to fate 's interference in the lives of heroes. it must be pondered whether or not they are heroes because they are devoid of choice and by definition a hero chooses their actions. but with fate their actions are predestined. For Oedipus. his only link to heroism is that in his redemptive attitude. His heroic stance in Greek culture is seen as a protagonist who felt guilt for what he had done and this translates to the audience that if a hero can succumb to evil then they themselves. as less than heroic. are more likely to fall in favor. in the eyes of the gods. As a Greek hero. Oedipus is like Hamlet in that they are both coerced by fate but with Oedipus his remittance of gouging his eyes shows that he is a stronger hero than Hamlet because of his debt payment of sight
Hamlet. in the end. relinquishes his identity for his father 's will Hamlet did not know himself. and this is proven by his gutless relinquishes of love. and his friendship that failed to save him from a fateful tragedy. In Hamlet 's mind. there was a clear mark of lunacy but that was due to his dwindling identity being replaced by his father 's will. In Hamlet is found the tragedy of a man who did not fully know himself. and in not knowing himself. his actions. his words his thoughts were not his own and this is increasingly true through the.
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According to Wikipedia.com, hamartia is a term that was developed by Aristotle and:
can simply be seen as a character’s flaw or error. hamartia is the tragic flaw of the protagonist in a given tragedy.
The word hamartia is rooted in the notion of missing the mark (hamartanein) and covers a broad spectrum that includes accident and mistake, as well as wrongdoing, error, or sin.
Shakespearean tragedies come to mind, such as Hamlet and Macbeth. Shakespeare's tragic heroes all had a tragic [character] flaw. For Hamlet it was indecision. For Macbeth it was vaulting ("blind" ) ambition .
misfortune is not brought about by villainy but by some “error of judgment” (hamartia). This imperfection later came to be interpreted as a moral flaw, such as Othello’s jealousy or Hamlet’s irresolution.
The basis for understanding hamartia, then, is that a mistake is made, but it is due more to an error in judgment, or, more typically perhaps, a flaw in one's character, rather than springing from malicious intent. It was something created by Aristotle. Catharsis is also something connected to the Greek, and it also was used by Aristotle.
Catharis means "cleansing" or "purging," but it is not necessarily referred to literally. One may experience a catharsis by experiencing a bout of prolonged weeping. Screaming or yelling, or even unburdening one's guilt can be cathartic. The idea is that a weight is lifted off of one's heart or soul.
The emphasis of "catharsis" as an emotional response was introduced by Aristotle as well.
The Greek philosopher Aristotle was the first to use the term catharsis with reference to the emotions—in his work Poetics. In that context, it refers to a sensation or literary effect that, ideally, would either be experienced by the characters in a play, or be wrought upon the audience at the conclusion of a tragedy; namely, the release of pent-up emotion or energy.
Therefore, in a tragedy. hamartia refers to a hero's tragic flaw, which drives him to do things that not only affect those around him, but ultimately his own fate as well.
Catharsis is something that can also be seen in a tragedy. For instance, when Claudius and Macbeth, two of Shakespeare's great villains, die (in Hamlet and Macbeth. respectively), it may be cathartic for the audience, seeing such heinous criminals punished for their horrific deeds. When Hamlet kills Claudius, we may assume it is cathartic for him as well, although his tragic flaw (harmatia) has already sealed his own fate.
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Published: 23rd March, 2015 Last Edited: 23rd March, 2015
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As one of William Shakespeare's most famous tragedies written around 1600, 'Hamlet' recalls the prince of Denmark who seeks revenge on his uncle, who murdered his father (the king) and married his mother, the Queen. I believe that the fatal flaw that led to hamlet's downfall is his irresolution-his inability to act even though he feels he is justified.
Why was he unable to kill Claudius, even after his father commanded him to? Many people have their own explanations for Hamlet's action, or rather in-action, in the play Hamlet, but I propose that Hamlet's inability to act boils down to his Oedipus complex. In Greek mythology there is a myth of a man named Oedipus who killed his father and married his mother. The psychologist Sigmund Freud developed the notion that some people can develop a sort of disease in which they want to do the same. Hamlet suffered from this complex, and this might just be the reason that Hamlet was incapable of action. The action that Hamlet was incapable of was of course killing Claudius. Previously, English scholars have debated that Hamlet was incapable of his action because of his cowardice, and thus Hamlet invented different excuses as reasons why he could not kill Claudius, but maybe that has less to do with it then you might think.
However, I also agree with Goethe that hamlet merely had responsibilities thrusted upon him despite his nature. In hamlet's soliloquy in act 1 scene 2 where he is mourning his father's death: Hamlet is so grieved by his father's death that he too wishes to die. He feels as if he is a defiled person stating that "O, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into dew" (I.ii.133-134). He seems to hope that if he was to die, then he would become cleansed and pure as the dew cleanses the earth at the dawn of day. He wants to break out of the captivity of his flesh as a "spiritual release" of sorts. Shakespeare juxtaposes this notion with the term "Everlasting" (I.ii.135) making his body posses a state of permanence something that is everlasting compared to breaking down into the dew that he wishes to become. Hamlet also realizes that committing suicide would be considered a sin in the eyes of the "Everlasting" God (I.ii.135) who with his "canon 'gainst (self slaughter!)" (I.ii.136) would prevent him from reaching heaven.
Saddened not only by his father's death, Hamlet is also outraged about the quick marriage between Gertrude and Claudius. Hamlet retracts Gertrude's initial grief at the loss of her husband saying that she cried "unrighteous tears" (I.ii.159) and he is tormented by images of his mother's affection towards his father, believing that her display of love was pretence to satisfy her own lust and greed. He feels that she acted too hastily and states "O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason would have mourned longer!" (I.ii.154-155). He is obviously against the marriage and believes that "She married. O, most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets!" (I.ii161-162). The overall tone of this soliloquy is a very personal and emotional one since it is really the first time that Hamlet has revealed his inner thoughts so openly. It accomplishes its objective of revealing the deep thoughts of Hamlet and his inner struggle with amazing proficiency, and helps the reader to understand the basis for his actions throughout the rest of the play.
In act 1 scene 5 Hamlet and the audience are introduced to the ghost of Old King Hamlet which introduces the deepening conflict for Hamlet as a revenge tragedy. The emotional Hamlet, by his father's wish, is to exact revenge on his uncle Claudius a task which he was ready to complete rather quickly: 'haste me to know't that I,â€¦ may sweep to my revenge.' (l.V.ii 28-31)However, Hamlet hesitates to fulfil his responsibility to his father not because of Hamlet's inability to kill Claudius, but rather due to Hamlet's lack of conviction to go against God: murder a king- regicide. Throughout the middle ages and beyond, monarchs were seen as being God's deputies on Earth and having the divine right to rule; this suggests that he is pure and of a moral nature but also the burden that he can never cast away. Kenneth Muir 1963 said, "Hamlet, although corrupted by the evil with which he is asked to deal, does at last resign himself to becoming the agent of a Christian providence."
Hamlet's continuing flaw of irresolution is clearly shown when the players arrive and he arranges for a personal viewing of The Murder of Gonzago. Hamlet becomes besieged by guilt and self-contempt after seeing one of the players' express profound emotions for a fiction. Hamlet compares himself: he has a lot feel passionate/dramatic about yet he fails to show it. 'O what a rogue and peasant slave am I!', comes directly after he has seen the performance of a speech by the First Player. Hamlet compares himself to the actor, and finds himself wanting. The First Player has produced such an effective performance, with 'Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspect' (II.2) with only a pretended cause for emotion, a 'dream of passion', whereas Hamlet berates himself for having a greater 'cue for passion' and not acting."Acting" is a double-edged word, though. Hamlet notably compares himself to an actor, and considers himself a 'dull and muddy-mettled rascal' who like a 'John - a-dreams', can take no action. F Richmond 1981 said, "Hamlet is a man of painful sensitivity, tortured by crassness of the world he sees and by the crudities of the action demanded of him." This is linked to the idea that Hamlet that he's subject to the crown and also links to Goethe idea of ' a burden which it cannot bear and must not cast way.'In Hamlet's "to be or not to be" soliloquy (3.1 64-98) Hamlet seems to be governed by reason and not frenzied emotion. Unable to do little but wait for completion of his plan to "catch the conscience of the king", Hamlet sparks an internal philosophical debate on the advantages and disadvantages of existence, and whether it is one's right to end his or her own life. Some scholars limit Hamlet's discussion to a deliberation of whether he should take his own life then Hamlet asks the question for all dejected souls -- is it nobler to live miserably or to end one's sorrows with a single stroke? He knows that the answer would be undoubtedly "yes" if death were like a dreamless sleep. The "rub" or obstacle Hamlet faces is the fear of "what dreams may come" (74), i.e. the "dread of something after death" (86). Hamlet is well aware that suicide is condemned by the church as a mortal sin. Mary Salter 1988 says " Hamlet's nature is philosophical. reflective, prone to questioning and therefore, aware of the larger moral implications of any act." This is linked to the idea that ' impossibilities have been required of him ; not in themselves impossible, but such for him.' Even though hamlet does kill Claudius in the end due to his fatal flaw of irresolution essentially destroyed him, as his failure in previous situations led to death. According to Aristotle concept of catharsis a tragic hero is someone of noble birth; tragedy Hamlet went through three of the four stages of catharsis: harmartia- his inability to act i.e. kill Claudius, peripity- when his father dies and his mother remarries, anagnorsis- when he realises that Claudius killed his father. The tragedy of Hamlet shows the inability to act however noble the intentions are.
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Hamlet Plot Summary
Hamlet Plot Summary Act 1 Scene 1 The scene is the Castle at Elsinore. Bernardo relieves Francisco, at about midnight. Marcellus who joins Bernardo in the watch along with Horatio.
I noticed your submission to Culture Magazine, regarding Shakespeare�s great play �Hamlet�. Having recently studied �Hamlet� in Year 12 English, I think I can help answer one of your questions. You asked why is Hamlet regarded as a tragic hero and the play a classic tragedy?
Before I can answer your question, you must first understand the difference between the meaning of tragedy today and what is meant by tragedy in drama. Whereas a tragedy in life may
Act I, Scene I - It is midnight and bitter cold. On a platform (a level space on the battlements) outside the castle at Elsinore in Denmark, a sentry (Francisco).
be considered something such as a death or accident, in drama a tragedy in drama is much more. In a tragedy, although the hero may be in conflict with an opposing force, the cause of his downfall falls ultimately on himself. This is usually because of a character defect � a �tragic flaw� which causes him to act in a way which ends up bringing about his own misfortune, suffering and ultimately death. �Hamlet� is very much a tragedy, but
Hamlet - Plot Summary
Act 1 Scene 1 The scene is the Castle at Elsinore. Bernardo relieves Francisco, at about midnight. Marcellus who joins Bernardo in the watch along with Horatio who was told.
it is also different, being a revenge tragedy where the hero is driven by the need for revenge, not unlike a modern day horror movie. Prince Hamlet is a tragedy of character where it is himself that brings his downfall, not fate.
Well Kylie, a tragedy is usually a story of one person, with both the hero victims in the play usually of a high standing of society. This is especially the case in �Hamlet�, with his victims being King
Hamlet Plot Summary
Act 1 Scene 1The scene is the Castle at Elsinore. Bernardo relieves Francisco, at about midnight. Marcellus who joins Bernardo in the watch along with Horatio who was told of.
Claudius, Queen Gertrude, Polonious, Laertes, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, all being linked to the Royal Family of Denmark. A personality fault (the tragic flaw) causes the hero to act in a manner which brings about his own misfortune and eventually death, during which he lets the audience know he is dying by delivering a final speech. In �Hamlet�, it is his tragic flaw of his indecisiveness and inability to act, which brings his own suffering and misfortune. Had he been able
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to kill King Claudius in the beginning none of the suffering would have occurred. He also delivers his final speech telling the audience of his death, �I am dead Horatio. Wretched queen, adieu!� he exclaims after being poisoned by Laertes envenomed rapier.
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A tragic hero must not be purely good or purely evil. If he were purely good we would not understand his actions and if he were purely evil we would expect them. Hamlet is not purely good or purely evil, he is mixture or good and evil. He was intelligent, witty and cheerful and delighted in �flashes of
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merriment that were wont to set the table in a roar� in the beginning, but he
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