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Hamlet - Hero or villain?
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Hamlet comes across as both a hero and a villain throughout 'Hamlet' at different intervals. Hamlet is a hero as he uses his cunning and pretends to be mad, he takes revenge for his Father, and he dies unpretentiously. However, Hamlet is also a villain as he lies to his friends, break Ophelia's heart, leading her to madness and eventually suicide, and he cowardly postpones killing Claudius, despite the fact that Claudius killed his own Father.
The madness Hamlet seems to have only surfaces in the presence of particular people, such as Gertrude, Claudius, Polonius and Ophelia. Yet, around Horatio, the grave-diggers, Bernardo and the players his disposition is less than 'antic'. This leads to questioning whether or not his madness is real- if it is, he lies to his friends and family, is extremely manipulative traits which could only be described as villainous.
The characters pick up on the fact that Hamlet's madness may not be genuine, they talk of how he can 'feign madness' 'feign' means to pretend therefore the language could only be suggesting that Hamlet is pretending to be mad. Guildernstern talks of Hamlet having a 'crafty madness', a synonym of crafty being 'sly'
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