Discuss the following statement:  "We admire Hamlet as much for his weaknesses as for his strengths."Discuss the following statement:  "We admire Hamlet as much for his weaknesses as for his...

Discuss the following statement:  "We admire Hamlet as much for his weaknesses as for his strengths."

Discuss the following statement:  "We admire Hamlet as much for his weaknesses as for his strengths."

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is an interesting statement.  Perhaps, we "identify" with Hamlet.  I am not sure there is much in way of admiration.  Hamlet is a character whose "function is smothered by surmise," one who wantonly abuses Ophelia, and an individual who is trapped by the multiplicity of emotions and desires.  Hamlet is a uniquely modern hero.  Whereas the Classical heroes were ones who waged battle against external forces of evil and possessed a relatively simple dynamic in that enemies and opposition were externally defined, Hamlet's demons are within, his enemies are subjective.  In this light, the modern reader identifies with Hamlet because his struggles are our own.  His constant battle to simply "be happy" is a modern one, demonstrating that one of the most simple of tenets is one of the most difficult.  It is in this light that Hamlet is a symbol of identification, and not so much as admiration.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree that "admire" may be too strong a word for how I feel about Hamlet; however, I do feel as if I kind of "get" him. After all, how many times in life have I felt passionately about something and purposed to do it right away, only to slip into inaction and impassivity? Plenty, as have we all. How often have I embarked on a plan which I though might work but it only ends up backfiring on me somehow? How many people have I hurt (though thankfully not killed) by my single-minded focus on something in my own life? Again in Hamlet, Shakespeare proves himself to be a master at capturing the human condition, not just an interesting or random story.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't know if it is a weakness or a strength in his character, but I do admire that Hamlet doesn't just hear the story of the ghost and then run amok, assuming that the story is true.  I admire his intent to prove the ghost a true ghost, but at the same time, this intent slows down to non-existent an actual plan to avenge his father's murder by Claudius, and because he doesn't have a real, solid plan, he ends up dead, along with everyone else.  It seems that Hamlet's strengths become his weaknesses and vice versa.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Renowned critic Harold Bloom describes Hamlet as a villain-hero.  After all, he is responsible for eight deaths.  Yet, there is something very poignant about Hamet that connects to our own humanity. For one thing, he feels intensely and understands the existential absurdity of existence as well as the inexorable force of fate. Highly intelligent, Hamlet deliberates too long, but we forgive him, for he is royalty in both heart and soul--"It is I, Hamlet the Dane."

s-spurs | Student

I do not agree with the statement that we admire Hamlet for his weaknesses as well as for his strengths, as I feel his weaknesses outweigh his strengths. In Shakespeare's "Hamlet," Hamlet has flaws that hold him back from seeking revenge for his fathers death. Hamlet has overbearing pride, is preoccupied with his mother, and becomes rash under pressure. Although I do admire Hamlet for his strengths.

Hamlet  is overcome by grief at his father's loss, and enraged by his mother's inappropriate, marriage to King Hamlet's brother.  One of his major shortcomings, throughout all of the text, until the end at least, is his lack of concern for the welfare of the state.  He is concerned that an unjust king, Claudius, is on the throne, but he is more concerned with revenge than the leadership of the country.  He is, after all, next in line to the throne.  It is not until after he sees Fortinbras willingness to sacrifice thousands of lives for a useless piece of land that he is finally able to put his personal intellectual musings aside in his soliquay he says “ dad is dead and mom's tainted, should I live or die”  "My thoughts be bloody or nothing worth" His weakness and his strength are intertwined here, as to act hastily and kill a rightful king would put the country in jeopardy from its enemies, not to mention end his own life Hamlet can be admired for this decision.

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