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Hamlet did not intend to kill Polonius. If he thought at all in his heightened state of rage and fear, he thought it was Claudius behind the curtain; hence he says, “Sir, I mistook you for your better.”

Hamlet, however, cannot simply be considered a hero because of his despair. What we need to look at is his indecision and his failure to find a way to act either in accord with his father's Ghost's demands for a revenge killing or with his Protestant beliefs that forbid revenge killing.

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Of course Hamlet is a hero.  A tragic hero, anyway.  He's basically good: a good son trying to avenge his father (even when his religious beliefs forbid revenge) and to woo an innocent virgin.  However, he, of course, has a tragic flaw the nature of which many contest.  My opinion is that his tragic flaw is inaction.  Quite a mild flaw, I would say, as compared to someone like Macbeth.  Doesn't "vaulted ambition" sound worse to you?

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It is possible to make a case against Hamlet being a hero. He acts impulsively and kills people, then bemoans his actions in soliloquies of self-doubt. Admittedly, Polonius was meddling, but one should check curtains before stabbing them willy-nilly.

Hamlet values honesty and loyalty, yet is totally dishonest, sly and sneaky. He has no loyalty for Ophelia and is so cruel to her that, ultimately, she dies by her own confused actions.

Hamlet does have some incredibly heroic qualities, but a little dissension always helps a discussion, I think.

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Hamlet is a hero. He is also crippled by the welter of emotions that bombard him after finding out that his father is dead and his mother is married to his uncle.  Upon returning home from university at Wittenberg, he is confronted with the news, delivered by a supernatural form of his father's ghost, that Uncle Claudius is his father's murderer.  This comes on top of Claudius's theft of his birthright, the royal monarchy, passed down by direct bloodline; war with Fortinbras; grieving that death brings to us all. 

In the end, Hamlet did what he said he would do: He found the truth and crushed Claudius's hopes of a kingly life. He then, since his life was the price of vengeance, honorably passed on the crown to Fortinbras with the help of Horatio, his steadfast friend.

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