• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To What Extent Is Hamlet, The Tragic Hero Of The Play, Responsible For His Own Downfall?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To What Extent Is Hamlet, The Tragic Hero Of The Play, Responsible For His Own Downfall? In Shakespeare's 'Hamlet', the eponymous character is the tragic hero, and therefore as this tragic hero in a revenge tragedy must have a tragic flaw. However within the context of the play, in its events and circumstances, many other external factors play a pivotal role in his downfall. Ultimately though as this tragic hero, he becomes a man torn between the these internal and external forces, however in relation to his downfall, it is his flaws in reaction to these external factors which becomes his downfall. As a play moulded by the revenge tragedy genre, the tragic hero, Hamlet, must have a flaw that proves his downfall. Many have argued that Hamlet was responsible for his own downfall, and his fatal flaw was that he thinks too much. Hamlet's character is that of a conscientious man with a high intellect. Because of this, the nature of his reasoning in a situation he finds himself in as the avenger of his fathers murder, which itself is an external factor, show how his extensive reasoning becomes his fatal flaw. For example, when discussing his mothers and Claudius' relationship and his distaste for it, he explains that 'For I must hold my tongue'. ...read more.

Middle

Hamlet himself even acknowledges the role that fate and destiny play in the direction in his actions when he explains that 'there's a divinity that shapes our end'. Here Hamlet shows although he has freedom in his actions as the tragic hero, as free will is a pivotal element of a revenge tragedy, there is some divine force such as God guiding the ends of his actions. A.C Bradley explains this role that fate plays as 'the powerlessness of man and of the omnipotence --perhaps the caprice-- of, fortune or fate, which no tale of private life can possibly rival' .Therefore this again emphasizes that although Hamlet's internal flaws play a role in his downfall, there is an element which he cannot control, and this interaction between these two forces prove the source of his downfall. In contrast to this role that external forces play, many persist in arguing that it is solely Hamlet to blame for his own downfall, and use one of his fatal flaws as the reasoning for this assertion. His tendency to procrastinate and not showing enough masculinity in his actions is to many an internal flaw that exacerbates the revenge and ultimately adds to his downfall. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another striking example of this instance of a tragedy of chance is within Act 4 during the voyage to England after Hamlet discovers that he was on his way to be murdered, and joins a pirate ship to be shipped back to Denmark to await his fate. This example if any shows how an external factor lead to the downfall of Hamlet, as he came back to develop the plot between himself and Claudius even more, as he could of stayed in England which would have diffused the situation. This interpretation of Hamlet as a tragedy of chance reiterates the idea that the internal flaws and external forces interact with one another and the manner in which Hamlet's flaws react to these forces are what causes his downfall. Within 'Hamlet', Shakespeare creates a character who has been torn between his internal flaws and external forces, both of which he has no control over, and because of these two forces which entwine to add to his downfall, it cannot be concluded that Hamlet was completely to blame for his own downfall. His downfall was however due to the tragic relationship between these two forces and his inability to deal with is situation in light of these forces, which ultimately culminated in a noble man thrown into the depths of revenge which finished with his own death. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hamlet essays

  1. Scene by Scene - Hamlet.

    (She does realize quickly that the cup is poisoned. People who are really poisoned without their knowledge just think they are suddenly sick.) Laertes says in an aside that he's having moral qualms about killing Hamlet by treachery. The third round ends in a draw (perhaps locked weapons), then Laertes

  2. Hamlet's Tragic Flaw leading to his Demise

    The most famous line in English literature "To be, or not to be: that is the question" (III.i.56) is declared by Hamlet, and this marks the start of another soliloquy. In this soliloquy again he contemplates suicide and death, to rid his pains of living on earth, similar to the first soliloquy.

  1. To what extent do you think Hamlet can be seen as a tragic hero ...

    / O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!' which could indicate two things; that he feels so disgusted and devastated that it is impossible to take the task on; or that he is unable to act, and appears to be a man of words rather than actions.

  2. Hamlet causes the deaths of many people by the end of Act 5. To ...

    Absolutely disgusted with the sexual passion. * As Claudius address the court in Act 1 scene 2 Hamlet is dressed all in black which suggest he is very different to everyone else and is made to stand out by the director so the audience can fell sympathy for the character as he is very lonely.

  1. Madness and Sanity of Tragic Heroes.

    However, this is not a childish prank, but, an over exaggeration due to his slipping mind. Another demonstration is in the play-within-the-play. Hamlet already believes Claudius is the culprit. Apparently, this was his master plan to show King Claudius he knew about his father.

  2. Criticism on Hamlet

    O miserable defender! If it be necessary to remove the apparent contradiction, - if it be not rather a great beauty, [362] - surely, it were easy to say, that no traveller returns to this world, as to his home, or abiding-place. Ib. "Ham. Ha, ha! are you honest? Oph.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work