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Hamlet: A Tragic Hero?Is Hamlet a “tragic hero” in the true sense of tragedy?

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plux | Student, Undergraduate

Posted December 11, 2007 at 8:48 AM via web

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Hamlet: A Tragic Hero?

Is Hamlet a “tragic hero” in the true sense of tragedy?

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted December 11, 2007 at 9:48 AM (Answer #2)

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I believe on some level that he is a tragic hero in the true sense of tragedy because he died in vain accomplishing his goal to avenge his father's death. He is a hero who made sure his story would be known that he conquered the ambitious Claudius, but in the process he lost everyone he loved including his own life.

On another level he might not be considered entirely tragic because he did not die at the hands of Claudius who was essentially his arch enemy and the the only truly threatening enemy in the play- he died at the hands of Laertes who was seeking revenge for his sister and father and perhaps had some very misplaced anger. It might have been more tragic had Hamlet died at the hands of Claudius while also fulfilling his prophecy to avenge his father's death.

This would be a good one for the discussion board! :)

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lcassidy | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted December 11, 2007 at 10:47 AM (Answer #3)

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Hamlet is in fact a tragic hero.  According to Aristotle’s definition of tragedy, a tragic hero is a great person (often a king or some kind of royalty) who has the potential for greatness but is defeated. This protagonist must come into conflict with a force directly opposed to what he should want (the antagonist, who in this play is Claudius).  He must also suffer from a tragic flaw, which inevitably brings about his own downfall. 

In Hamlet, Hamlet is the protagonist who suffers from the tragic flaw of inaction.  Because of his great inability to act, more specifically to avenge his father’s death, Hamlet dies. 

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schroa | Student, Undergraduate

Posted January 19, 2009 at 7:51 PM (Answer #4)

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If you read the outline of Aristotle's theory in his book POETICS for tragic heroes I believe he is a tragic hero.


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darkblade106 | Student, Grade 9

Posted June 2, 2012 at 4:43 PM (Answer #6)

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Are there any good sources to cite for my research essay on  Hamlets Tragic hero?

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