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Essay/Term paper: Hamlet, defined as a tragedy

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Hamlet

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The Tragedy of Hamlet



Arguably the best piece of writing ever done by William Shakespeare, Hamlet is the classic example of a tragedy. In all tragedies the tragic hero endures and struggles, and then they usually end happy still offering some hope. 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 many elements needed to gain the title of a true tragedy. Such elements are discussed in Jean Carmean"s: "Toward a Flexible Definition Of Tragedy." Probably the most important element is that of the audience being able to identify with the characters in the play. In every tragedy, the characters must be believable, with a complex character and problems the audience can relate to. There must be a sense of missed joy, however the capacity and promise of happiness must be present. The discovery and seeking out of the universal truth must be by both hero as well as the audience, the audience must be a part of the tragedy. This major historical tradition accepts Hamlet as an example of Aristotle's model tragic hero, one who is generally better than the average but is brought down by flaw in his character.

IDENTIFIABLE. The first and foremost important element is that of the character having to deal with identifiable universal problems and character traits. "The play must express a view of the world, then, as well as a view of the individual." (Carmean pg2.) The audience needs to experience a waterfall of emotions for the character and for themselves. Hamlet has many conflicts and qualities that the audience can be familiar with, on such example is revenge, for his fathers murder. Hamlet knows his uncle is guilty of murder, but he does nothing concrete to the effect to further his revenge. First he condemns his apparent lack of concentration of his revenge as the sign of his cowardly nature. He puzzles the court with his madness and then rationalizes his inactivity as an effect of his doubt about the ghost"s nature. He plans to manipulate a play to get a rise out of Claudius, the audience supports Hamletsmove.

VIEW OF WORLD. Another element of a tragic hero is how he or she reacts to his of her view of the world. With the death of his father and the hasty, incestuous remarriage of his mother to his uncle, however, Hamlet is thrown into a suicidal frame of mind in which "the uses of this world" seem to him "weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable." Though his faith in the value of life has been destroyed by this double confrontation with death and human infidelity, he feels impotent to effect any change in this new reality: "It is not, nor it cannot come to good. / But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue." All he can do in this frustrated state is to lash out with bitter satire at the evils he sees and then relapse into suicidal melancholy.

GREATNESS.A tragic identification is best aroused by a character who is great; such greatness of intelligence, sensitivity and or along with the capacity to love. The hero must be essentially great, in that his weaknesses do not lead to the internal conflict such as madness. Ophelia tells us that before the events of the play Hamlet was a model courtier, soldier and scholar, "The glass of fashion and the mould of form, / Th' observed of all observers." Hamlet had only one flaw, and that was pride. He had many good traits such as bravery, but his one bad trait made him evil. While in all Shakespearean tragedies, the hero dies, in others he may live but suffer "Moral Destruction. A misconception about tragedies is that nothing good comes out of them, but it is actually the opposite. In Hamlet, although Hamlet dies, it looks as though things would be better, and Denmark is saved. Hamlet could not have had 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. A tragic hero must be brave and noble. A tragic hero must not back down from his position. He also has to have free will, in order to stand up for what he believes in.

FATE. An identifiable element is the idea free will, refusing the possibility of a predestination controlling one"s life. If every action is controlled by a hero's destiny, then the hero's death can't be avoided, thus not making it a tragedy. 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.

Finally, the audience must have some sympathy for the tragic hero. Hamlet is the perfect example of the tragic hero; he is complex and easy for audiences to identify with. He is also loyal. His loyalty to his father, was the reason he was so angry at Claudius and his Mother. Another trait was that he was intelligent. He was able to think up the idea of faking insanity, in order to get more information about Claudius. But Hamlet like all other tragic hero's had a flaw. He couldn't get around to doing anything, because he couldn't move on. He was a full-grown adult, yet he still attended school in England, because he couldn't move on. Also, it took him a long time to stop grieving about his father, because he didn't want to move past that part of his life. And after he finally did, Hamlet couldn't get around to killing Claudius. He kept pretending he was insane even after he was sure that Claudius killed his father. The final example of Hamlet's inability to get around to do anything was that he was dating Ophelia for a long time, but never got around to marrying her.

The audience was able to feel emotions of pity and pian for themselves and for Hamlet too. Hamlet losses his father, and his mother remarries so quickly that according to him they could have used the leftover food from the funeral in the wedding reception. Also, the audience could feel that Hamlet loved his parents and this sudden change was hurting him.

In any tragedy there is a tragic hero, and he must possess certain characteristics in order to be one. He must have many good traits such as loyalty and bravery, but one bad one such as pride. Also the audience must have sympathy for the hero. A tragic hero also must have free will or his fate would be decided for him, and his death could be avoided. Finally, the audience must have sympathy for the tragic hero, or it wouldn't seem so tragic. Hamlet is a perfect example of a tragic hero. He was brave, loyal, and intelligent, but he couldn't move on past one thing, which led to his death. He had a choice of how he would deal with Claudius, and like other tragic hero's made a decision. Also, the audience was able to feel sympathy for the position Hamlet was in. These attributes made Hamlet the perfect example of a tragic hero.

 

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