Hamlet Tragic Hero
Uploaded by krolik on Jan 09, 2008
In the transitional period between the middle ages and the Renaissance, literature was much appreciated. Following a famous trend of novels where many protagonists have been shown to be tragic heroes, Aristotle, the famous Greek philosopher, analyzed these books and came up with the well known “tragic hero formula”. The tragic hero in Aristotelian terms is a character of noble birth who is faced with hamatia and circumstances, which then lead to the character being faced with knowledge, which eventually leads to the hero’s tragic fall. Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a perfect example of an Aristotelian tragedy. Throughout the play Hamlet experiences certain circumstances which combine with his tragic flaws to lead to his downfall. Hamlet also possesses a tragic flaw, and this flaw is the Hamatia that in combination with the events helps slowly kill Hamlet and make him a tragic hero. Later on, throughout the play, Hamlet comes to an understanding that is caused by his fall and eventually leads to his demise. Seeing how these are the three things that are the main components of the tragic hero formula, Hamlet really is a case study of an Aristotelian tragedy.
As one of the first and arguably the most important elements of the tragic hero formula the destructive circumstances that the protagonist appears in is one of the main factors that define Hamlet as a tragic hero. When a young man such as Hamlet is faced with a series of horrible events and a surrounding that is completely destructive, he tends to look at things from a rather negative perspective. As the novel just begins, one could easily see that Hamlet is not faced with a good situation: his father is killed, his uncle marries his widowed mother, the love of his life is poisoned against him, and his childhood friends betray him. Seeing how Hamlet is not an average peasant and a prince to Denmark, it is also apparent that he is faced with a number of problems regarding his country like the madness going on, the fight for the throne, the conflict with Fortinbras and many other problems, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (I, iv, 90). As much as Hamlet is educated, brave, loving, and strong, there is no way that under all of this pressure and problems Hamlet could keep up with his circumstances. His surroundings and everyone that he knows, apart from a...