Winter break assignment Hamlet Aristotle spoke about ways a tragic hero may be identified what was once called Peripeteia Hamartia and Anagnorisis A tragedy is characterized by a tragic hero or heroine who goes through a reversal in fortune which is caused by some kind of personnel mistake The downfall of the hero in a tragedy is not caused by a higher power for example a god fate or even society it has to be a result of the hero s action or even at times lack of action Needing to be at fault of the situations some how The hero at last must go through a kind of revelation or recognition about his destiny Aristotle called a change from ignorance to awareness of a bond of love or hate All the characteristics take part in how Aristotle Defined a tragic hero But Do both Hamlet and Oedipus from William Shakespeare fall under this category First Hamlet after analyzing the character further and what events occur during the play the answer is yes In Hamlet the three defining moments in Greek tragedy mentioned above are all shown in the play
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At the start of the play before Hamlet senior makes his appearance all we are aware of is that Hamlet's father has passed as well has his uncle has taken the throne from Hamlet and has married his late brother's wife Once The ghost makes his appearance the main plot of the player is set to start The spirit of senior Hamlet tells the prince of Denmark that he was murdered and by his own brother we could take this as the prince s moment of recognition leading to a change in his destiny He has now found a new purpose in life to avenge his father's death The bond he had with his uncle has turned into pure anger only seeking revenge The next step is the tragic hero s change in fortune As we know Hamlet wanted to get back at his uncle he finds the perfect opportunity when he walks in on Claudius praying Although the opportunity is there he stops and decides not to kill Claudius What Hamlet was not aware of was that Claudius was not asking for forgiveness because as he says the reasons for which he committed the murder his ambition and his desire for the crown and the queen still possess him therefore he does not regret what he did
After this scene everything just goes downhill for Hamlet He missed his only chance all because of his lack of action where the final piece is introduced Hamlet's Tragic Flaw What stood out most was his indecisiveness his ability to stick with any original plans Whatever the occasion he made a conscious mistake which made him completely responsible for later events his death Laertes his mother s and Ophelia s Prince Hamlet practically brought about his own downfall Shakespeare s character could be considered as a sort of tragic hero if the right events are put together from the play Of course there is no way to determine whether he truly is a tragic hero such as Aristotle meant to define them It is a long play so at times it isn't entirely focused around the rules placed by Aristotle Hamlet has several flaws like a tragic hero but he is not characterized as excellent by any means like Aristotle had defined At times Hamlet even possessed qualities of a villain which goes against the idea of a tragic hero He reacts to his fate in a way similar to the way one would expect a normal non heroic character to react Hamlet's actions give him the potential to be a tragic hero he is turned almost evil therefore he is not fit for the title of tragic hero For the next Character that could be considered a tragic hero is Oedipus According to the words of Aristotle Oedipus is considered to be a good example of a Greek tragedy This is because the structure
A good tragedy needs to have a well constructed plot Like previously mentioned about how aristotle defined a tragic hero The plot in Oedipus included the aspect of reversal When Oedipus finds out the truth about who his real parents were a good reaction is expected But an opposite reaction happened because he then realizes that the prophecy of him killing his father and marrying his mother has already happened The idea of reversal is meant to show the opposite effect within a scene in the play The aspect of recognition is important as well An example from Oedipus occurs in scene four when he comes to recognize that he had murdered his own father and married then his mother Recognition when combined with reversal of the situation triggers the emotions of pity and fear making the situation a suitable plot for a legitimate tragedy He is not fully a tragic hero because he did not fall from grace or have a reversal of fortune as his fate had already been decided Tragic heroes usually have a hubris a major fault that brings them down However Oedipus fate was prophesied Thus he did not fall from grace but only had his fate carried out His character bonds with the audience He has flaws but that does not take away the respect the audience has for him and his punishments make the audience feel pity for him Sophocles wrote Oedipus before Aristotle developed his ideas Oedipus does fit Aristotle's definition with startling accuracy He is the perfect example of a tragic hero
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