Hamlet: the Tragic Hero

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Swag. In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the main character is a classic example of a Shakespearean tragic hero. Hamlet is considered to be a tragic hero because he has a tragic flaw that in the end is the cause of his downfall. This play is an example of a Shakespearean tragic play because it has all of the characteristics of the tragic play. As defined by Aristotle, a tragic play has a beginning, middle, and end, unity of time and place, a tragic hero, and the concept of catharsis. One of the main reasons this play is considered a tragic play is because the main character is a tragic hero. Hamlet’s tragic flaw is he spends too much time thinking and not enough time acting. This is the opposite of Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, in which the tragic hero spends too much time acting, and not enough time thinking. Hamlet dwells too much on whether or not to act on something, and by the time he decides to act, it is too late. When Hamlet finally decides to kill Claudius, he sees him praying and decides to wait longer. The next time he gets a chance to kill Claudius he takes it, but by then it was too late. Hamlet was killed as well. He could have prevented his downfall if it wasn’t for his tragic flaw. Another reason Hamlet is a classic example of Shakespearean tragedy is because it incorporates the idea of catharsis. Aristotle defined catharsis as the purging of the emotions of fear and pity. In the play, Claudius has the emotion of fear because he is afraid of Hamlet knowing that he killed his father. Claudius knows that Hamlet is capable of killing him. He knows that he cannot hill Hamlet to protect himself or to prevent the people from knowing who killed the king because the people love Hamlet too much. Claudius feels pity after he sees the “Mouse Trap” because he realises what he had done wrong now that Hamlet knows the truth behind the matter. Hamlet is a tragic play
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