Play Hamlet Essay

Submitted By tgiertuga9
Words: 1010
Pages: 5

Travis Giertuga

Mrs. Morgan

Eng-3U2

Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

A Tragic Hero

Intellectuality is the power to distinguish from feeling, Insanity is the condition of

being insane or a derangement of the mind, and Hamartia is a Shakespearean term which

is known as fatal flaws. These definitions are three of several significant characteristics

that Hamlet presents throughout the play Hamlet. Hamlet really is a tragic hero. On one

hand, he has an obvious intellectual ability. However, this intellectual ability somehow

interferes with his ability to avenge his father’s death. This leads not only to his

insanity, but also leads to his indecisiveness or hamartia.

Hamlet is surely an intelligent individual and this is evident during both his actions

and speech during the play. During the play when people are spying on him, he is aware

of this. He has a good sense of what the other characters are plotting. An example of this

is when Guildenstern and Rosencrantz approach Hamlet. Hamlet immediately realizes

they are spying on him. “Were you not sent for?”(IIii288). Another example of

Hamlet‘s intellectual ability is during the play that he directs. Hamlet decides to add

sixteen extra lines in the play to prove Claudius murdered Hamlet's father. Hamlet not

only wants to seek revenge, but wants to ensure everyone knows the full story. Hamlet is

always thinking of the motives of others. He acknowledges that when he duels Laertes, he

will likely die. He doesn’t think that this is some sort of random challenge by

Laertes, but is wise in understanding that Laertes’s motive is to seek revenge. "The

readiness is all. Since no man knows aught of what he leaves, what is it to leave

betimes."(V.ii.219-221). During the play Hamlet directs, he is determined to further

prove Claudius’s guilt. Hamlet is closely inspecting Claudius’s behaviour searching for

emotion on his face to be sure that Claudius murdered Hamlet's father. "He poisons him

in a garden for his estate." (III.ii.257).

Hamlet is definitely clever, but it seems to border on insanity. Hamlet experiences

extreme emotional and physical pain which is a main cause of his madness. Hamlet

displays his mania in three instances. This was when his father was murdered by

Claudius, Hamlet killing Polonius in the Queen’s room, and Ophelia's death from

drowning in a river. The first indication of Hamlet’s insanity is when his father dies. He

was extremely traumatized especially once he realized that his uncle was the murderer.

Claudius marrying Gertrude, only escalates the situation further. "O, that is too too sullied

flesh would melt Thaw and resolve itself into a dew Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd

his canon 'gainst self-slaughter!" (I.ii.134) He speaks of his anguish over his father’s

death and his mother's remarriage to his uncle. Clearly, this seems to represent emotional

turmoil and suicidal thoughts. Another example of how Hamlet makes irrational

decisions was when Hamlet impulsively kills Polonius. This happens when Hamlet is

called up to speak to Gertrude in her room. When Hamlet hears a voice he believes is

Claudius, he stabs Polonius thinking it was the king. This indicates Hamlet’s neurosis

because after he stabs Polonius, he dishonours the body even further by saying he didn't

care and that he was a fool for being there in the first place. "How Now! A rat? Dead, for

a ducat, dead!"(III.iv.27). Hamlet seems to completely lose all sense of sanity when he

hears and sees of Ophelia's death. At this time, he also admits that he loved her. " I loved

Ophelia. Forty thousand brother Could not with all their quantity of love Make up my

sum."(V.i.280-283). After Hamlet’s father’s death, his murder of Polonius and…