Within all of William Shakespeare s tragic plays the main characters contains a tragic flaw. A tragic flaw of a character is defined as some aspect of the character that will enviably result in his or her demise. In Hamlet the main character, Hamlet contains sever tragic flaws just as most of all normal humans do. As many people say it is a well known fact that no one is perfect and because Hamlet even as a character is portrayed as being human is not perfect himself. The tragic flaws of Hamlet are portrayed so well throughout this play because of Shakespeare s natural talent for descriptive literature as well as well as his ability to portray tragedy. Hamlet s tragic flaws as I see them a very well portrayed and evident. As I see it he has two major flaws that result in his death at the end of the play. The two major flaws would be that the world around him is too corrupt that he cannot become corrupt himself. The second major flaw is that he is too ethical/noble a character to commit murder. Hamlet had no control of his future, and the situation that he was about to be in. It seemed as if it was all laid out for him as a plot. It began with King Hamlet (his ghost) appearing in the beginning of the play and revealing the corruption, and the deception that was his life. The ghost reveals to Hamlet the first instance of corruption; King Hamlet s murder. Also to further the disrespect and disregard the sanctity of marriage, Gertrude marries the man that had killed her husband. When Hamlet first saw the ghost he did not believe that this was the ghost of King Hamlet but just his mind playing tricks on him. The pieces of his life began to fit together and he began to realize that this might very well be the ghost of his late father. As Hamlet s life fits together and the ghost s story begins to fit together he is told many new things to do with his life. The corruption has even affected Hamlet s life so much that he cannot have or be with the woman he lives because of conflict of interest. Once it is revealed to Hamlet that Claudius is the murder of King Hamlet, Hamlet has sworn to get revenge in order to avenge the death of his father. Just like in present day life people won t believe that someone is guilty of something unless their guilt is proven without a doubt or that they admit to the crime. The charge that Hamlet had to hold against Claudius(The King) if not justified could result in Hamlet s execution. The corruption as previously explained cannot be justified unless proven without a doubt. The only way make Claudius admit his guilt is with a charade or play to make him admit that he actually killed King Hamlet. The play that Hamlet concocted and the whole idea of changing it so that it matched the story that was that of the death of King Hamlet made Claudius reveal that he truly was the killer. The fact that Claudius was the killer and that Gertrude had married him probably made Hamlet question Gertrude s actual love for the late King Hamlet. The world around Hamlet was now proven to be truly corrupt and thus showing that he himself would not allow himself to become corrupt. The act of madness well hid his true feeling and hatred towards Claudius and his feeling that he should just kill Claudius. Hamlet still could not get himself to do such a thing yet. Hamlet has had a particularly perfect time that he could have brutally murdered Claudius and avenged his father s death. Claudius was praying in church and repenting because he realized the wrong that he has committed against Hamlet, Gertrude, as well as King Hamlet himself. Hamlet could have easily killed him but he is too ethical and noble a character to actually have committed murder. If Hamlet had just killed Claudius as soon as he found out that Claudius is the real murder then he could have avoided all the situation of his demise and continued on with his life. Nobility and ethics I guess could be seen as a bad thing in many people because the opposing party is given time to prepare as well as plan of an alternative prevention them selves. To follow your heart and just do as you feel is right could save your life. Hamlet had caught Polonius listening while he was talking to Ophelia about putting her into the nunnery. Again if Hamlet had put his ethics aside and had just disposed of Polonius when he first discovered that Polonius was spying on him, he could have stopped Claudius from knowing more about Hamlet s life. The second time that Hamlet knew that he was being spied on while he was talking to his mother, he had done something about it. I still believe that he is too ethical a character to commit murder, because he didn t know that that was Polonius and he did intend to kill him, but to only harm and reveal the spy. Murder did not seem to be an ability of Hamlet. With the way that hamlet has been treated and his life destroyed, his family disemboweled, and the woman he loved removed form his life, still he did not go insane, but was intelligent enough to use madness and insanity as a shroud to hide his true idea of revenge.
Hamlet began a duel near the end of the play with no intent of murder, but in most normal people murder is not something that is intended, but is something that usually just happens unless the person is truly a murder. There was a murder in the duel and another in the room at the time. Claudius and Laertes were the murders. The drink that Hamlet was to drink from, and the sword that is used for the duel against Hamlet is poisoned and is intended only for Hamlet. The drink is then accidently consumed by Gertrude because she was not aware of Claudius plan to kill Hamlet. Only then did Gertrude realize that what Hamlet was telling her. He told her that Claudius killed King Hamlet and she disregarded it in an instance and now that she saw that Claudius knew that she was poisoned and she realized that the drink was actually intended for Hamlet. Claudius deviousness is revealed to Gertrude, and the truth was out that Claudius is really a murder. Once Hamlet was scratched and he realized he was poisoned and that he was going to die, he had to avenge his father s death. Even in is time of death I still feel that ethics and nobility is shown. It was noble to avenge his own death by killing Laertes to end the duel. It is ironic that Claudius is killed by the very thing he intended to use to kill Hamlet. You could say that he had died by his own hand. This is the fate of any character that is evil, or contains a tragic flaw. In a Shakespearean Tragedy all the main characters must die to end the play, and Claudius and Hamlet end the play. Just as any critic, translator, or any ordinary person that reads any liturature, each person makes their own opinion of the piece. Boris Pasternak expressed himself and his idea of the play by saying that Hamlet is not a drama of weakness, but of duty and self-denial. This contradicts my feeling and idea of the play because I see it as a story of weakness. Not the weakness of Hamlet but the weakness of people and characters in general to stick by their beliefs, and live honestly with what they have. The weakness I speak of is more a moral weakness than physical weakness of the characters. Each character has a their own weakness. Gertrude s weakness is the fear of being accused of treason by believing her own son. Ophelia s with her inability to maintain sanity in order to save her own life. Claudius weakness is of committing treason, adultery, and an inability to respect the lives of those around him. Duty and self-denial are minor aspects of the play, and weakness causes the events to occur the way that they did. E. Jones in his paper Hamlet Psychoanalyzed said For some deep-seated reason, which is to him unacceptable, Hamlet is plunged into anguish at the thought of his father being replaced in his mother s affections by someone else. It is as if his devotion to his mother had made him so jealous for her affection that he had found it hard enough to share this even with his father and could not endure to share it with still another man. I would agree with Jones when he says that Hamlet is in conflict for his mother s affection. Hamlet seemed to love his mother very much. The only thing is that I believe that Hamlet also loved his father a great deal. The way that Jones stated that he was jealous and didn t feel he could share his mother with his father as I see it is wrong. For all the time that he has spent risking his life, the woman he loves, and everything he has and will ever know to try and avenge his father s death; for this reason I believe that E. Jones idea of Hamlet is misguided.
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