Hamlet Is A Tragic Hero

Essay by ataf78High School, 10th gradeA+, May 2005

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The character of Hamlet is elevated above countless other similar tragic heroes because of Hamlet's awareness of the moral complexities and theological issues involved in the revenge plot. Hamlet's display of distraction is curious because his actions alone are not that of a madman, yet his private thoughts and musings suggest that he is insane. The source of this distraction may lie in his aboriginal addiction to thought and his inability to act decisively. (A Critical Analysis of Hamlet's Madness, West Cordell)

Shakespeare's Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is based on a 12th century tale by Saxo Grammaticus, which Shakespeare most certainly never saw, and is part of a spate of revenge dramas which were extremely popular around the turn of the seventeenth century; the missing link between Saxo and Shakespeare may be an earlier play about Hamlet (called by scholars the Ur-Hamlet), which may or may not have been written by the Ur-Revenger himself, Thomas Kyd, based in turn on François de Belleforest's Histories tragiques (1570), a free translation of Saxo.

One of the greatest works of William Shakespeare, Hamlet portrays a young prince, marked by fate, to discover the reasons for his father's death and while uncovering them give the world a view of a tragic soul never seen before. Hamlet's father was the king and soon after his death, his uncle Claudius marries his mother, the queen, and takes the throne leading many suspicions to him. Hamlet is the perfect example of the tragic hero. He possesses all the characteristics of a hero. He is brave, daring, loyal and above all intelligent; Intelligent enough to fake insanity to get more information about his uncle and if indeed his father was murdered or not.

Not every play in which a hero dies is considered a tragedy.

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