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Harminder Bajwa Ms.

Kaur ENG4U March 18, 2013 Hamlet's Tragic Flaw Lead Him to His Downfall Flaws are what make humans human. Moreover, a tragic flaw in a character brings about the downfall of the hero of a tragedy. In the play, Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, Hamlet is first presented as a loyal young prince grieving over his fathers death. In addition, his mother is to wed the brother of his father. T he ghost of Hamlets father appears to Hamlet; he is indecisive as he thinks it is a devil tempting him. Hamlet finds evidence that Claudius murdered his father, but procrastinates, waiting for the right opportunity. Hamlet, knowing someone is behind the curtain eavesdropping, shows his impulsiveness leading him to thinking it is Claudius and murders Polonius. Shakespeare shows how Hamlets tragic flaw results to his downfall through his indecisiveness, procrastination, and impulsiveness. First and foremost, Hamlet's indecisiveness makes Hamlet delay in taking revenge for his father. Hamlet's inability to make decisions makes this is his tragic flaw and prevents Hamlet from taking action to kill Claudius. When his father s ghost came to him and told him to avenge his murder, Hamlet was eager to take immediate action, but does not. This is clearly shown when the ghost of King Hamlet appears to Hamlet and tells him Claudius murdered him. Instead of Hamlet immediately killing Claudius at the right opportunity, he procrastinates: Here as before, never, so help you mercy How strange or odd someer I bear myself As I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put on antic disposition on (I. V. 168-171). Hamlet is indecisive and believes the ghost was a devil that was tempting him. This is because in the Elizabethan era, ghosts were believed to be either heavenly or satanic. Instead of Hamlet taking revenge at the right opportunity, he sets up an antic disposition. Hamlet feels that if the ghost is not telling the truth and he acts, he too will become a murderer. Thus conscience makes cowards of us all. In order to determine if Claudius is truly guilty, Hamlet produces a play in which the plot is parallel to King Hamlet s murder. Hamlet asks his good friend, Horatio, to watch Claudiuss reaction to the play and to determine whether Claudius is guilty or not. By Claudiuss reaction, Hamlet could come to the conclusion that the ghost was telling the truth and Claudius did murder his father. Instead of Hamlet taking immediate action to take revenge, his indecisiveness leads Hamlet to waste his opportunity to get revenge. If Hamlet were to have killed Claudius then, Hamlet would not have died as well other characters coming in the way. Hence, through Hamlet's indecisiveness, one can see how it influences his downfall. In addition, Hamlet's tragic flaw of procrastination leads him to lose another chance to take revenge when he sees Claudius praying; Hamlets believes Claudius is praying and purging his sins. If he kills him, he will go to heaven. Hamlet poses his desire to damn Claudius as a matter of fairness: his own father was killed without having cleansed his soul by praying or

confessing, so his murderer should be given that chance: Now I might I do it pat, now'a is a-praying And now I'll do't. and so'a goes to heaven. And so am I revenged. That would be scanned A villain kills my father, and for that I, his sole son, do this same villain send To heaven (III.III.73-77). At this point, Hamlet has gone beyond his earlier need to know the facts about the crime, and he now craves metaphysical knowledge, knowledge of the afterlife and of God, before he is willing to act. His philosophizing can be a way for him to avoid thinking about or acknowledging something more important: his urge to take revenge against Claudius. The task of killing another human being in cold blood maybe too much for Hamlet to face, leading to Hamlet procrastinating to take action. It is very clear Hamlet procrastinates; his only goal in life is to kill Claudius and take revenge, but yet again he does not for no apparent reason. Hamlet has the proof his father was killed by Claudius, but still is trying to find the appropriate time. This failed attempt to take revenge is ironic because Claudius is not praying; he just said that he cannot be forgiven unless he truly repents it. If Claudius did repent what he did, he would give up the crown and queen. Therefore, Hamlet's procrastination restricts him from achieving revenge, ultimately guiding him to the path of his downfall. Furthermore, impulsiveness is the tragic flaw that promotes Hamlet's downfall. Hamlets rash, murderous action in stabbing Polonius is an important illustration of his inability to coordinate his thoughts and actions. This is evident when Hamlet enters Queen Gertrude's room and stabs the person hearing their conversation, thinking it was Claudius: How now? A rat? Dead for a ducat. /dead! (III.IV. 24). In his passive, thoughtful mode, Hamlet is too beset by moral considerations and uncertainties to avenge his fathers death by killing Claudius, even when the opportunity is before him. Hamlet says, A bloody deed -almost as bad, good Mother, / As kill a king, and marry with his brother (III.IV. 30). Here one can see that he is unable to coordinate his thoughts and actions when speaking to his mother this way. When Hamlet does choose to act, he does so blindly, stabbing his anonymous enemy throu gh a curtain. Hamlets impulsiveness drives him to react in this way. This action resulted in Hamlet losing his love of his life, Ophelia, as Hamlet told her he does not love her and her father just passed away. This makes Hamlet depressed and regretting in his failure to express his love for her. Therefore, one can see that Hamlet's impulsiveness leads to his downfall. In essence, it becomes evident that in Shakespeares Hamlet, Ha mlet epitomizes a character who meets his downfall through three tragic flaws: indecisiveness, procrastination, and impulsiveness. Hamlet is indecisive when the ghost of King Hamlet appears to him, instead of Hamlet killing Claudius immediately; he puts on an antic disposition. Hamlet does not kill Claudius when he has the chance because Claudius was praying, but does not; Hamlet procrastinates because he believes when killed while praying and purging your sins, one goes to heaven. His impulsiveness is seen when Hamlet speaks to Queen Gertrude. Upon knowing someone is behind the curtain, which Hamlet believes to be Claudius, stabs Polonius dues to his impulsiveness. These tragic flaws lead to Macbeth to his downfall losing his life, and death of

others as well as the love of his life. In conclusion, tragic flaws are flaws that leads the hero of a in a tragedy to their downfall.