Hamlet essayTopic #1Period FourShakespeares mastery of literary arts produced a complex and realistic protagonist in the tragic play of Hamlet. Hamlet has arguably come to be known as Shakespeares most outstanding tragic hero. The play Hamlet explores the concept of infectious circumstances destroying an innocent human spirit, all the while keeping in close alignment with Aristotles depiction of a tragedy. The great thinker, Aristotle, has created his own rules of a tragedy and tragic hero.
As defined by him, a proper tragic hero must be admirable and noble, yet destined to a heroic death. There should be a reversal (change of one state of affairs to the exact opposite), and a recognition (change from ignorance to knowledge). 1 Hamlet fulfilled each of these prerequisites. First, Shakespeare introduced Hamlets character as an innocent and intelligent scholar.
He was somewhat nave and inexperienced with lifes unfortunate occurrences, yet these same characteristics made him immediately likable. His intelligence and sensitivity to his fathers death made him noble, but the best evidence of his admiralty is his apparent unwillingness to commit murder. Many scholars raise the question, Why does Hamlet delay?2 While this question will never be settled with a concrete answer, it is believed by some that it is due to his morals. After the initial instinct to seek revenge, Hamlets good nature rejected the thought of committing murder. It is because of this that he procrastinates and hesitates killing Claudius.Order now
Here there is a turning point and marker of Aristotles point of reversal. Hamlets innocence is lost, and he is committed to seeking revenge and killing Claudius. This leaves him vulnerable to the evil that is slowly taking over his soul. This infectious circumstance contaminates Hamlets beautiful spirit.
He recognizes this change in his first soliloquy when he admits that his life and soul is decaying through a metaphorical garden of his life that is, an unweeded garden/ that grows in nature. (I, ii, 134-135) This internal conflict causes confusion within Hamlet, and he plays mad to buy time and sort out his thoughts. The audience knows that despite his hesitations, Hamlet still wants to seek revenge. This is revealed in his second soliloquy when Hamlet states, A damnd defeat was made. Am I a coward. (II, ii, 571).
He criticizes his own cowardice for not swiftly taking his revenge against Claudius. Hamlet begins his first stages of recognition that he must be true to himself and his father and kill the king. Secondly, Aristotle characterizes a tragedy by its possession of a beginning, middle, and end. These components are clearly defined as follows. The beginning takes off as Hamlet sees his fathers ghost, and instinctively vows revenge on his fathers death.
The middle is market by Hamlets hesitation and plans to reassure himself that Claudius was in fact guilty, and lastly, the end is when Hamlet finally knows for sure and decides to wait no longer and carry out the kings murder. Rule by rule, Shakespeare masters every component of a true tragedy. Each event and turning point has taken over Hamlets life and his sole purpose becomes the vengeances he seeks. He begins to question his life and worth.
His soul slowly decays because of the sorrow and challenges that face him. When Hamlets spirit is completely submerged in his suffering and grief, he concludes that this unfortunate destiny is a part of living. It is through this desperate and depressed state of mind that the infamous melancholy speech is made, To be or not to be, that is the question;/ whether tis nobler in the mind/ to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune/ or to take arms against the sea of troubles and by opposing/ end them. (III, I, 56-60). Our tragic hero is then eventually sent off to fulfill his destined heroic death. When he finally murders Claudius, his mission has been completed and his life is then allowed to end.
As he is dying, he nobly asks his friend Horatio to clear his wounded name. He longs to be remembered as the honorable son of King Hamlet, who merely sought the justice of his fathers murder. No less is expected of the tragic hero, and the poignant words of Horatio served Hamlet best when he said, Now cracks a noble heart. Goodnight sweet prince.
(V, ii, 370). This ensures that Hamlets name will be cleared by way of his best friend, who will live on to tell the story of the young Hamlet whose innocent soul was eaten away by the contaminated and ruined kingdom. 1 Quotes credited to Aristotle and Shakespeare (works cited #1)2 Question quoted from the Shakespearean Imagination (works cited #2)