Hamlet As A Tragic Hero

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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In examining Hamlet and Oedipus Rex we are confronted with the notion of heroism and tragedy. In these plays the protagonists are tragically heroic. The question is, what is it that makes them tragic heroes. A big part of being a tragic hero is suffering. In the context of these tragedies the hero meets their suffering often through defiance of some authority. While in defiance it is that suffering that unearths the core of the hero. Essentially, suffering allows the character of the hero to develop and progress.

Neither Oedipus nor Hamlet let authority stand in their way. Oedipus did not except the God's prophesy. When he was told that his he was going to kill his father and end up in his mothers bed, he left Corinth immediately in hopes of escaping his fate. Hamlet doesn't directly defy authority but he certainly questions it. When Hamet's mother marries his uncle very shortly after his father's death, Hamlet shows some skepticism: He felt that Gertrude and Claudius had a unnatural relationship and suspected that something fishy was up.

Hamlet was never afraid to say what he felt even it wasn't proper. In conversation with Polonius, Hamlet called him a fish monger.

Polonius was a respected member of the kingdom but that didn't stop Hamlet from saying what he felt.

Both Oedipus and Hamlet had the fatal tendency to identify their whole being with one interest or passion. Oedipus' driving force was to avoid his fate. He left his family in Corinth in hopes of escaping his fate. Even when he was told that his father was dead, he didn't stop worrying about the prophesies: OEDIPUS: "...must I not fear my mother's bed?...If only my mother were not still alive! But she is alive. I can not help my dread." Dedicating...

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