Hamletcan we consider Hamlet morals  or the morality of Hamlet character as  tragic-flaw ?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The interesting aspect regarding Hamlet and his sense of morality is his willingness to act on what he considers morally valuable.  There is a unique element towards Hamlet's morality brought out in his constant wavering between action and inaction.  If one possesses a morally virtuous path and still does not act, is this, in its own right, an act of immorality?  No doubt, Hamlet understands that the death of his father is morally wrong.  Yet, his inability to act- where his function is smothered by his surmise- causes him to not be able to act on his morality.  How does this lack of action, even if one possesses what one knows to be is " morally right," cast a light on moral behavior?  The more I reflect, the more I find this to be a fascinating element in Shakespeare's work.

Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would suggest Hamlet's concern for his own life is nonexistent.  He is suffering from melancholy (depression) and is suicidal at times.  I don't think he delays because he's worried about his own life.  He wonders if the ghost is really the ghost of his father or a demon leading him toward destruction (as the witches do in Macbeth, for example); he needs solid proof of the new king's guilt; he "plays God" and doesn't want to send Claudius to heaven by killing him while he's at prayer.  These issues contribute to his delay and reflect on his morality (particularly when he refuses to kill Claudius while he's praying).  At the same time, depression often leads to inaction.  The issue of his state of mind cannot be ignored, either.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I like what the earlier poster said about the fact that Hamlet's inaction and difficulty in actually making decisions makes it hard to determine or declare that he is moral or immoral.  He spends a great deal of time contemplating the moral implications of a variety of things, the ghost's speech, his relationship with Ophelia, his mother's marriage to his uncle, his opportunity to kill Claudius while he prays, his own desire to kill himself, etc.  He examines these moral decisions in great detail and with great spirit, but often lacks the ability to make any sort of a decision.

Perhaps you could say that he has a moral mind and a moral heart, but it is difficult for him to make moral decisions about which action to take.

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hamlet is trapped in a horrible dilemma. He has knowledge that his father may have been murdered by his own uncle/stepfather. If Hamlet takes action, he risks his own life. If he does nothing, he is still at risk as a potential rival to his uncle the king. He will destroy his mother's marriage if he kills his uncle. It seems that any way he turns, no matter what he decides to do, he is doomed one way or another. It is this dilemma that makes Hamlet such a fascinating character.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perhaps we should consider Hamlet’s unwillingness to consider alternative means of getting revenge as his tragic flaw. He could have killed Claudius, and that’s the course he ended up taking, but he could also have revealed Claudius to the court. He could have revealed Claudius to Gertrude earlier in the play. He could also have forgiven. Any of those things would have fit better with his “morals”.

scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think that it's specific enough to state that Hamlet's morals are his tragic flaw.  In classical tragedy, flaws are normally much narrower.  Many critics cite Hamlet's indecisiveness as his tragic flaw, and that is not necessarily connected to a sense of morality.  Shakespearean characters with moral tragic flaws include such men as Macbeth, Shylock, and Antony.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Inaction seems a flaw that is, indeed, tragic.  For, it is Hamlet's indecisiveness and procrastination that allow Claudius the time to devise a plan to rid himself of Hamlet by enlisting Laertes in his deadly plot

epollock | Student

If you look at the Aristotelian definition, then he clearly is a tragic figure. But to pigeon hole a character which does not allow some type of leeway prevents one from understanding the character in many other ways.

sercret | Student

. Hamlet is very popular of people of Denmark . He can take this situation in his advantage but he does not, because he is a  noble which means if he has to take a passive acceptance immediately and forget about the revenge .