William Shakespeare, Hamlet the is the classic example of a tragedy. In all tragedies the hero suffers, and usually dies at the end. Othello stabs himself, Romeo and Juliet commit suicide, Brutis falls on his sword, and like them
Hamlet dies by getting cut with a poison tipped sword. But that is not all that is needed to consider a play a tragedy, and sometimes a hero doesn’t even need to die. Making
Not every play in which a Hero dies is considered a tragedy. There are more elements needed to label a play one. Probably the most important element is an amount of free will. In every tragedy, the characters must displays some. If every action is controlled by a hero’s destiny, then the hero’s death can’t be avoided, and in a tragedy the sad part is that it could. Hamlet’s death could have been avoided many times. Hamlet had many opportunities to kill
Claudius, but did not take advantage of them. He also had the option of making his claim public, but instead he chose not too. A tragic hero doesn’t need to be good. For example, MacBeth was evil, yet he was a tragic hero, because he had free will. He also had only one flaw, and that was pride. He had many good traits such as bravery, but his one bad trait made him evil. Also a tragic hero doesn’t have to die. While in all Shakespearean tragedies, the hero dies, in others he may live but suffer “Moral Destruction”.
In Oedipus Rex, the proud yet morally blind king plucks out his eyes, and has to spend his remaining days as a wandering, sightless beggar, guided at every painful step by his daughter, Antigone. A misconception about tragedies is that nothing good comes out of them, but it is actually the opposite. In Romeo and Juliet, although both die, they end the feud between the Capulets and the
Montegues. Also, Romeo and Juliet can be together in heaven. In Hamlet, although Hamlet dies, it is almost for the best. How could he have any pleasure during the rest of his life, with his parents and Ophelia dead. Also, although
Hamlet dies, he is able to kill Claudius and get rid of the evil ruling the throne.
Every tragic play must have a tragic hero. The tragic hero must possess many good traits, as well as one flaw, which eventually leads to his downfall.
Free Hamlet Essays: Brutal Truth Revealed in Hamlet Hamlet essays
Brutal Truth Revealed in Hamlet Shakespeare Disillusionment. Depression. Despair. These are the burning emotions churning in young Hamlet’s soul as he attempts to come to terms with his father’s death and his mother’s incestuous, illicit marriage. While Hamlet tries to pick up the pieces of his shattered idealism, he consciously embarks on a quest to seek the truth hidden in Elsinore; this, in stark contrast to Claudius’ fervent attempts to obscure the truth of murder. Deception versus truth; illusion versus reality. In the play, Prince Hamlet is constantly having to differentiate amongst deception and truth. However, there is always an exception to the rule, and in this case, the exception lies in Act 2, Scene 2, where an “honest” conversation, sans the trappings of deceit, takes place between Hamlet and Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern. Via the use of prose and figurative language, Shakespeare utilizes the passage to illustrate Hamlet’s view of the cosmos and mankind. Throughout the play, the themes of illusion and mendaciousness have been carefully developed. The entire royal Danish court is ensnared in a web of espionage, betrayal, and lies. Not a single man speaks his mind, nor addresses his purpose clearly. As Polonius puts it so perfectly: “And thus do we of wisdom and of reach / By indirections find directions out” Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 71-3 The many falsehoods and deceptions uttered in Hamlet are expressed through eloquent, formal, poetic language (iambic pentameter), tantamount to an art form. If deceit is a painted, ornate subject then, its foil of truth is simple and unvarnished. Accordingly, when the pretenses of illusion are discarded in Act 2, Scene 2, the language is written in direct prose. Addressing Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet pleads with them to deliver up honest speech about the intent of their arrival: “[offer up] Anything but to th’ purpose.” Act 2, Scene 2, Line 300 In a gesture of extreme significance, in a quote complementary to Polonius’ aforementioned one, Hamlet demands: “Be even and direct with me whether you were sent for or no.” Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 310-11 Being the bumbling fools they are, Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern disclose their intentions and purposes to Hamlet, revealing the King and Queen’s instructions. Thus does truth prevail in this passage. For this reason, the whole passage is devoid of the “artful” poetic devices that are used in the better portion of the play. The recurring motif of corruption also appears in the passage. Due to the wicked internal proceedings in the state of Denmark (e.g. murder, incest), Shakespeare implies that the whole state is “soiled”, which in turn has a direct negative consequence in the grand universal scheme of things. Imagery of warped and distasteful plants, in place of the traditional “aesthetically correct” beautiful flowers in a garden, serves to further reinforce the degeneration theme: “‘Tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature possess it merely.” Act 1, Scene 2 Essentially, all of life, and all that was good and beautiful in life (e.g. the garden) is sullied. Hamlet, the disillusioned idealist, continues with the motif when he disheartenedly declares: “the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory” -Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 321-2 [the air] “why, it appeareth nothing to me but a fouled and pestilent congregation of vapors.” -Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 325-6 The above lines represent Hamlet’s cosmic view on the planet. He finds the world to be empty and lifeless, dirty and diseased, and his particular place in it to be desolate and lonely. Indeed, he feels so isolated and entrapped in his native land that he says: [the world is a prison] “A goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o’ th’ worst.” -Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 264 -6 This view of the world exemplifies the micro/macro concept, where Denmark is the “micro” manifestation of a prison for our hero. The taint of “micro” Denmark leads to repercussions that in turn affect the whole universal order, leading to the consequence of the world itself becoming the “macro” manifestation of a prison in Hamlet’s eyes. Further along in the same paragraph, Hamlet offers up his opinion on man, extolling his virtues and excellent qualities (“what a piece of work is man^ “). Yet, it is tremendously ironic, that the ideal type of man Hamlet is describing is nowhere to be found in the play. Hamlet himself is indecisive, unable to take action, Claudius is a slave to his lusts and passions, Polonius is a simpering, servile old fool, and Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are mindless ninnies. Quite simply, no “true man” as Hamlet describes him exists in the play. As a result of this dismal realization, and because of his inability to adapt to the “unnatural state of things in Denmark”, Hamlet has lost the love for life he once had. This loss of enthusiasm also stems from the fact that he intrinsically knows there is more wickedness brewing under the superficial illusionary surface of calm that Claudius is trying to promote. As a culmination of all these factors, Hamlet loses all faith in man: “And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?” Scene 2, Act 2, Lines 332-3 Drawing on Biblical allusions, Hamlet redefines the position of man as simply “that which came from dust”. From this stance, it is inferred that solely God is Truth. Man, coming from the lowly earth, cannot be depended upon to deliver pure and true thoughts, as his source of origin itself is impure and unclean. If one establishes this rationality for mankind’s nature, then all the characters in the play can be accounted for.