Does Hamlet's punishment exceed his crime?According to Aristotle, a tragic hero's misfortunes are not wholly deserved. The punishment exceeds the crime. I need help to support this point. All help...

Does Hamlet's punishment exceed his crime?

According to Aristotle, a tragic hero's misfortunes are not wholly deserved. The punishment exceeds the crime. I need help to support this point. All help is greatly appreciated. Use example from play if possible.

Asked on by ansh

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kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

I definitely believe Hamlet's punishment exceeded the "bad" things he did. He suffered greatly throughout the play and, in my opinion, he did not deserve to lose so much, including his great love, Ophelia.  That was the hardest part to swallow for me because I simply couldn't feel sorry for Hamlet's mother.  She irritated me because she married Hamlet's uncle.  That was quite creepy LOL!

reidalot's profile pic

reidalot | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

I agree with Post 3, yet look closely at his dialogue with Ophelia and his belittling sexual innuendos - I think he overplayed his hand a bit much. remeber, Ophelia loves him. He also uses his mother as a whipping post, and she seems a bit clueless as to his angst!

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Well, I can't imagine anything is so bad that it would call for death of all your loved ones and yourself.  Hamlet is not responsible for his father's death or his mother's decision to marry his uncle.  He did not deserve to lose his father and mother in that respect, and later he loses Ophelia and permanently loses his mother.  That's a tough hand to play. 

reidalot's profile pic

reidalot | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

According to your question, no, Hamlet does not deserve his misfortunes. He returns to Elsinore to find his father murdered and his mother engaging in an overhasty marriage to Claudius, his uncle and his father's murderer. His flaw, his lack of action, does certainly not merit his death. However, he can be held responsible for not fulfilling his duty as the Prince of Denmark and allowing his emotions to stand in the way of regard for his country. His behavior towards Ophelia is also reprehensible as he gets caught up in his act of madness and his disregard for women,"Frailty thy name is woman." His charm , ironically, is his inabilty to murder Claudius. Hamlet is a good man in an impossible dilemma.

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