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Hamlets Fatal Flaw

Hamlets Fatal Flaw Essay

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Hamlet’s Fatal Flaw was that he had a hard time carrying out his plans. Many times did Hamlet plan on doing things, yet he did not carry out these plans. Hamlet was not a bad guy, but more of a tragic hero.

In the opening scenes of the play, the Ghost of Hamlet’s father reveals the truth about his death to his son. He tells Hamlet to avenge his tragic murder. Hamlet’s response seems like he has quick plans to carry out his fathers wishing, by saying “Haste me to know’t that I with winds as swift”¦ May sweep to my revenge.” (p. 29 lines 27-29) Unfortunately, Hamlet’s inability to act on his father’s extortion has him reluctant to kill the King Claudius by the end of that very scene, when he says, “This time is out of joint, O cursed spite, that I was ever born to set it right.” (p. 35 lines 197-198) Here, Hamlet is already having doubts and wishing that he wasn’t the one that had to carry out the revenge for his father. Obviously Hamlet has real problems when it comes down to dealing with things.

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As the play goes on, Hamlet still has not done a thing to avenge his father. In act II, scene 2, Hamlet decides that before he can avenge his father’s death, he must make sure that the Ghost was telling the truth. This simply gives Hamlet more excuse to procrastinate. Hamlet makes a plan to have a play in which he will test the kings reaction to. The play would be about a king who is murdered by someone putting poison into his ear. Then the murderer becomes king and is loved by the fallen kings wife. Just as it was for Claudius who killed the king and took his wife. When the play is seem by Claudius, Claudius becomes outraged and ends the play. Hamlet knows now that Cladius is guilty. Even here, hamlet is speaking to his friend Guilderstern and says “I lack advancement” (p. 81 line 338) when his friend asks what is wrong with him. I think that Hamlet knows his flaw but he won’t act on it.

In act III, scene 3, Hamlet is ready to kill the king, but stops himself because the king is praying. Hamlet thinks that because the king is praying that if he killed him now the king would go to heaven. He decides yet again to delay avenging his father’s murder, this time until he can kill the King while he is in a vile condition, such as “When he is drunk asleep; or in his rage; Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed.” (p. 87 lines 89-90) Later, Hamlet even proclaims; “How all occasions do inform against me, and spur my dull revenge.” (p. 104 lines 33-34)

In the end of the play, we see that Hamlet’s inability to act causes his tragic demise. Hamlets failure to revenge his father when he should have, costs him not only his life, but also his mother’s. In the final scene, Hamlet duels with Laertes, who has conspired with the King to kill Hamlet. In the King’s attempt to kill Hamlet, he accidentally poisons the Queen. Laertes delivers the fatal wound to Hamlet with a sword dipped in a deadly poison and it is only with his final life breath that Hamlet finally kills the King.

So, Hamlet has finally killed the king, but not by going out and killing the king like he said, but with a poison the king made himself to kill Hamlet. But it would be okay to say that Hamlet avenged his father, and his fathers later wish for the queen to be left to die without Hamlet killing her. Both Hamlet’s and his father’s names are cleared too.

Basically, everything is made clear to the people and besides Hamlet’s sad death, everyone who deserved to die or be killed, was killed. Hamlet obviously wouldn’t have made a good king anyways, without the ability to act on your own wishes, you would never rule a kingdom very well.

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Hamlet


Please give a possible thesis statement that reflects Hamlet as a tragic hero in WIlliam Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

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Expert Answers

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a tragedy, and that makes Hamlet a tragic hero; however, it is important to identify the characteristics common to Shakespeare’s tragic heroes before writing your thesis statement. 

First of all, Hamlet suffers from a fatal flaw, a weakness in his character which eventually causes his downfall. Unlike the characters in an Aristotelian tragedy, Hamlet is aware of his flaw virtually from the beginning of the story, adding to the sense of…

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a tragedy, and that makes Hamlet a tragic hero; however, it is important to identify the characteristics common to Shakespeare’s tragic heroes before writing your thesis statement. 

First of all, Hamlet suffers from a fatal flaw, a weakness in his character which eventually causes his downfall. Unlike the characters in an Aristotelian tragedy, Hamlet is aware of his flaw virtually from the beginning of the story, adding to the sense of tragedy. We know that Hamlet’s character flaw is indecision, as we watch him waver and vacillate time after time about whether to take action or not. In one sense we admire Hamlet for this, as he clearly recognizes and values human life enough to be sure he is not killing the wrong person. In another sense, we ask ourselves exactly how much evidence he needs before he will finally take some action. It is a rather frustrating journey to see him so resolved at times and then back away from his resolution.

Second of all, Hamlet is in a position of power, as the son (and nephew and stepson) of a king, which again means his fall from nobility is more tragic than a fall from a lower social position would be. Though it means nothing to Hamlet, he has been named as Claudius’s successor, establishing Hamlet’s position as the Prince of Denmark.

Third, Like many of Shakespeare’s tragic heroes, Hamlet succumbs to the pressures of other people, not all human, who help advance his downfall. In Hamlet, those characters would certainly be Claudius, Polonius, the Ghost and his so-called friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Each of these characters is determined, well intentioned or not, to deter Hamlet from his purpose. Polonius is a distraction both because of his infernal butting-in and because he is Ophelia’s father; though he pays for that, he contributes to Hamlet’s inactions and is in the wrong place when Hamlet finally does act. Hamlet’s rather bumbling friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, are another distraction; he is certainly willing to have them killed because of their cumbersome and traitorous meddling. Claudius is an obvious nemesis from the beginning; the Ghost certainly influences Hamlet.

Finally, Hamlet has opportunities to save himself but does not do so–or does not do so in time–which leads directly to his death. How often did Hamlet think he was ready to kill Claudius but then could not act, sometimes for good reason and sometimes just because of his flawed indecision. His fatalistic view is part of this point.

There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will. 

Your thesis must encapsulate your thinking (which will be reflected in the rest of your essay) about Hamlet as a tragic hero. You and I would probably agree on most of these basic issues regarding Hamlet as a tragic hero; however, what is up for debate between us is whether we find Hamlet’s flaw admirable or weak (see first point above). Once you decide that for yourself, you can write your thesis.

Possible thesis sentences:

  • Hamlet is a tragic hero because he demonstrates a fatal flaw which leads directly to his death. (basic)
  • In Hamlet, Shakespeare gives us a character who knows his flaw but is unable to overcome it because of his own indecision as well as the interference of others. 
  • Hamlet is a tragic hero whom we both pity and admire as he falls from his high place due to his own inaction.

Write a thesis which matches how you feel and what you will write about Hamlet. 

Further Reading:
https://www.enotes.com/topics/hamlet
https://www.enotes.com/topics/hamlet/characters
https://www.enotes.com/topics/hamlet/themes

  • list Cite
  • link Link

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Hamlet


Please give a possible thesis statement that reflects Hamlet as a tragic hero in WIlliam Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

  • print Print
  • document PDF
  • list Cite

Expert Answers

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a tragedy, and that makes Hamlet a tragic hero; however, it is important to identify the characteristics common to Shakespeare’s tragic heroes before writing your thesis statement. 

First of all, Hamlet suffers from a fatal flaw, a weakness in his character which eventually causes his downfall. Unlike the characters in an Aristotelian tragedy, Hamlet is aware of his flaw virtually from the beginning of the story, adding to the sense of…

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a tragedy, and that makes Hamlet a tragic hero; however, it is important to identify the characteristics common to Shakespeare’s tragic heroes before writing your thesis statement. 

First of all, Hamlet suffers from a fatal flaw, a weakness in his character which eventually causes his downfall. Unlike the characters in an Aristotelian tragedy, Hamlet is aware of his flaw virtually from the beginning of the story, adding to the sense of tragedy. We know that Hamlet’s character flaw is indecision, as we watch him waver and vacillate time after time about whether to take action or not. In one sense we admire Hamlet for this, as he clearly recognizes and values human life enough to be sure he is not killing the wrong person. In another sense, we ask ourselves exactly how much evidence he needs before he will finally take some action. It is a rather frustrating journey to see him so resolved at times and then back away from his resolution.

Second of all, Hamlet is in a position of power, as the son (and nephew and stepson) of a king, which again means his fall from nobility is more tragic than a fall from a lower social position would be. Though it means nothing to Hamlet, he has been named as Claudius’s successor, establishing Hamlet’s position as the Prince of Denmark.

Third, Like many of Shakespeare’s tragic heroes, Hamlet succumbs to the pressures of other people, not all human, who help advance his downfall. In Hamlet, those characters would certainly be Claudius, Polonius, the Ghost and his so-called friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Each of these characters is determined, well intentioned or not, to deter Hamlet from his purpose. Polonius is a distraction both because of his infernal butting-in and because he is Ophelia’s father; though he pays for that, he contributes to Hamlet’s inactions and is in the wrong place when Hamlet finally does act. Hamlet’s rather bumbling friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, are another distraction; he is certainly willing to have them killed because of their cumbersome and traitorous meddling. Claudius is an obvious nemesis from the beginning; the Ghost certainly influences Hamlet.

Finally, Hamlet has opportunities to save himself but does not do so–or does not do so in time–which leads directly to his death. How often did Hamlet think he was ready to kill Claudius but then could not act, sometimes for good reason and sometimes just because of his flawed indecision. His fatalistic view is part of this point.

There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will. 

Your thesis must encapsulate your thinking (which will be reflected in the rest of your essay) about Hamlet as a tragic hero. You and I would probably agree on most of these basic issues regarding Hamlet as a tragic hero; however, what is up for debate between us is whether we find Hamlet’s flaw admirable or weak (see first point above). Once you decide that for yourself, you can write your thesis.

Possible thesis sentences:

  • Hamlet is a tragic hero because he demonstrates a fatal flaw which leads directly to his death. (basic)
  • In Hamlet, Shakespeare gives us a character who knows his flaw but is unable to overcome it because of his own indecision as well as the interference of others. 
  • Hamlet is a tragic hero whom we both pity and admire as he falls from his high place due to his own inaction.

Write a thesis which matches how you feel and what you will write about Hamlet. 

Further Reading:
https://www.enotes.com/topics/hamlet
https://www.enotes.com/topics/hamlet/characters
https://www.enotes.com/topics/hamlet/themes

  • list Cite
  • link Link

Related Questions

  • Discuss Shakespeare’s Hamlet as a tragedy and Hamlet as a tragic hero.
  • eNotes educator1 educator answer
  • Discuss Shakespeare’s character Hamlet as a tragic hero.
  • eNotes educator1 educator answer
  • Hamlet: A Tragic Hero? Is Hamlet a “tragic hero” in the true sense of tragedy?
  • eNotes educator3 educator answers
  • How does Hamlet die a noble death in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”?This is one of the three points for…
  • eNotes educator1 educator answer
  • What makes Hamlet a tragic hero?
  • eNotes educator2 educator answers

More Hamlet Questions »

Hamlet

Read the study guide:

Hamlet

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial

Ask a Question

Popular Questions

  • What is the meaning behind this quote from Hamlet “Goodnight Sweet Prince”? Is it an indication…
  • eNotes educator3 educator answers
  • What are all the parts in Hamlet where the theme of procrastination is displayed?
  • eNotes educator1 educator answer
  • How many soliloquies are there in Hamlet?
  • eNotes educator2 educator answers
  • Why does Hamlet tell Ophelia to go “to a nunnery” and what does he give as his reason?
  • eNotes educator3 educator answers
  • What does it mean when Ophelia says, “Lord, we know what we are, but not what we may be.” How…
  • eNotes educator2 educator answers

More Hamlet Questions »

Additional Links

  • Hamlet Summary
  • Hamlet Themes
  • Hamlet Characters
  • Hamlet Analysis
  • Hamlet Quotes
  • Hamlet Quiz
  • Hamlet Lesson Plans
  • William Shakespeare Biography

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