What are some quotes from the play Hamlet that would reflect "the irony of the tragic hero that condems himself to failure?"In this play, hamlet acts according to his nature, yet doing so he...

What are some quotes from the play Hamlet that would reflect "the irony of the tragic hero that condems himself to failure?"

In this play, hamlet acts according to his nature, yet doing so he condems himself to failure. what are quotes that would reflect this saying in the play?

Asked on by jdent8

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jseligmann | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Early in the play, in Act 1, scene 5, after the Ghost has presented the horrible problem and the deadly solution, which falls on him to perform, Hamlet says of himself:

The time is out of joint. O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right.

It's like he's saying, "Why me? This is not my kind of thing at all. I'm a philosopher and a brooder, not a doer."

Then, in Act 3, scene 1, Hamlet unpacks his heart first to himself. In this quote from his "To be, or not to be" soliloquy, he sees what his difficulty is:

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.

He knows that he talks too much, thinks too much and plans too much. He's more a man of ideas than of action. As much as he wants to avenge his fathers murder, to give the Ghost what he so sorely seeks, he knows he's got the wrong temperment for the task.

Then, later in the act, in scene 5, he tells Ophelia, with candid honesty:

I am myself indifferent honest, but yet
I could accuse me of such things that it were better my
mother had not borne me. I am very proud, revengeful,
ambitious; with more offences at my beck than I have
thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape,
or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do,
crawling between earth and heaven?

It's all too much for him. He's not made of the viscious, murdering mettle that would carry him to a successful outcome. Oh, he doesn't fail completely, for he does finally avenge his father's foul and most unnatural murder, but he does make a royal mess of it. Dead bodies litter the stage, and one of them, who really was a "sweet prince," is the cause.

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