What tragic events happen to Prince Hamlet?

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The tragic event in Shakespeare's Hamlet that overwhelms Hamlet and gives rise to all of the other events in the play is the death of Hamlet's father. The true tragic nature of his father's death is revealed to Hamlet by his father's ghost, who appears to Hamlet and tells him...

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The tragic event in Shakespeare's Hamlet that overwhelms Hamlet and gives rise to all of the other events in the play is the death of Hamlet's father. The true tragic nature of his father's death is revealed to Hamlet by his father's ghost, who appears to Hamlet and tells him that his father was murdered by Hamlet's uncle, Claudius.

Hamlet's reaction to the revelation of his father's murder drives the play forward and ultimately results in the complications, conflicts, and all of the other tragic events that occur in the play.

At the beginning of the play, Hamlet is grieved by his father's death, and he's dismayed and appalled by what he considers is his mother's "incestuous" marriage to Claudius, particularly since the marriage occurred so soon after his father's death. It's unlikely, however, that Hamlet would have done anything about the situation with his mother and uncle or about any other circumstances surrounding his father's death if he didn't know that his father was murdered.

It's unlikely that any of the deaths in the play would have occurred if Hamlet didn't know that Claudius killed his father. There would have been no play-within-a-play to "catch the conscious of the King" which led to Polonius's death. Claudius wouldn't have found it necessarily to send Hamlet to England, which resulted in the death of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

It's possible that even in his grief Hamlet wouldn't have treated Ophelia so poorly that it would have driven her to commit suicide—if Ophelia actually went mad and committed suicide, and if she went mad and committed suicide for that reason.

There would have been no motivation for Claudius and Laertes to plot Hamlet's death, and there would have been no mass carnage at the end of the play resulting from that plot.

In fact, without the murder of Hamlet's father and the ghost's revelation of the murder to Hamlet there wouldn't be any play at all, which is the true measure of the effect of the tragic death of Hamlet's father on Hamlet and on the play.

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The foremost tragic event that happens in Prince Hamlet's life concerns the assassination of his beloved father. Towards the beginning of the play, Hamlet speaks to his father's ghost and discovers that his unscrupulous, malevolent uncle poisoned him. To make matters worse, Claudius has married Hamlet's mother, Gertrude. Prince Hamlet is beside himself at the fact that his uncle assassinated his father and married his mother. In an attempt to discover the cause of Hamlet's erratic behavior, Polonius instructs Ophelia to end her relationship with Hamlet while he and Claudius spy on them. Ophelia is Hamlet's love interest and her actions significantly impacts Hamlet's mindset. Later on, Ophelia commits suicide and Hamlet demonstrates his grief by jumping into her grave, where he proceeds to fight Laertes. Ophelia's death is certainly a tragic moment in Hamlet's young life.

Prince Hamlet also accidentally kills Polonius, who is spying on him in Gertrude's chamber. Hamlet was under the impression that Polonius was Claudius and must deal with the consequences of his actions after killing the king's advisor. Prince Hamlet also struggles to accept the fact that his former friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, are working for Claudius. While he is sailing to England, Hamlet discovers Claudius's plot to murder him but alters the king's letter to doom Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Once Hamlet returns to Elsinore, he accepts the challenge to fence the talented, dangerous Laertes, who he has no desire to harm. Tragically, Hamlet discovers that Laertes is fighting with a poison-tipped sword and kills Laertes and Claudius before he dies.

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Hamlet's whole life is one long tragedy. His father was murdered by having poison poured down his ear while he slept in the garden one day. Then, if that wasn't bad enough, the man who murdered Hamlet's dad became king and married Gertrude, Hamlet's mom. By most people's standards this is pretty tragic.

But it's not over yet. Because Hamlet spends an inordinate amount of time trying to work himself up to take revenge on Claudius for his wicked crime. His chronic indecision is tragic indeed. In the meantime, his beloved Ophelia goes completely mad and kills herself after Hamlet bawls her out and tells her to go off to a convent so that she can't give birth to any evil kids.

We sense that this won't end well for our hero, and it doesn't. For he ends up dead at a shockingly young age, struck down by a poison-tipped blade. But not before his mother dies, also killed by poison, only this time by drinking from a cup of poisoned wine. There's just one word to describe all these terrible events: tragic.

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These are the tragic elements which pertain to Hamlet, the character:

1. His father died.

2. He experiences a deep grief and wonders about the purpose of life and his existence in the world.

3. His mother marries his uncle shortly after his father dies. He sees this as incestuous.

4. Horatio introduces him to his father's ghost who tells him that he's been murdered by his uncle!

5. His former friends Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are solely in the employment of his Uncle and pry Hamlet for information.

6. His Uncle tried to kill him on his way to England.

7. His former lover, Ophelia, goes mad after he kills her father Polonius.

8. He mistakenly kills Polonius thinking it's the King.

Your challenge is to get the quotes you'll need to demonstrate these tragic plot elements.

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