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Hamlet Tragic Hero

- Tragic hero
- Tragedy (as opposed to an epic) relies on dramatic performances rather
than a narrative
- Best tragic plots are single and complex
- Includes reversal situation seems to be developing in one direction but
suddenly switches to another
- Tragic pleasure of pity and fear
- Cant be all good or all evil the audience has to be able to identify with
him but if he is superior in some way the pleasure in intensified
- Encounters obstacles from society, plan flaws, gods, nature etc.
- His end comes from mistaken action or error in judgement e.g. a
common one is pride and therefore the hero ignores the advice of the
- The hero must not die at the end but a change in fortune occurs. Receives
some kind of revelation
- Due to the heros suffering being more than his mistake the audience feels
- Represents actions that give form to universal truths
- The tragic hero is "a [great] man who is neither a paragon of virtue and
justice nor undergoes the change to misfortune through any real badness
or wickedness but because of some mistake."
- A great man - one of those who stand in great repute and prosperity. The
hero is neither a villain nor a model of perfection, but is basically good
and decent.
- Mistake - (hamartia): This Greek word, which Aristotle uses only once in
the Poetics, has also been translated as "flaw" or as "error." The great man
falls through--though not entirely because of--some weakness of
character, some moral blindness, or error. We should note that the gods
also are in some sense responsible for the hero's fall.
- The plot of a tragedy also involves some horrible or evil deed. The tragic
hero does it consciously, does it out of ignorance, or mediates it (makes it
easy for the deed to happen). To make it really horrible for the audience,
Aristotle suggested that the evil deed should be done to a family member.

Chain of being hierarchy of people
Regicide homicide of a royal occurs, King Hamlet and his brother chain
of being is broken
Horatio the voice of reason lives he is the only one who lives to tell the
story to others
When a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts
without any irritable reaching after fact and reason Keats 1817
Hamlet is very indecisive procrastinator
To be or not to be? to kill or not to kill the reason people dont kill
themselves is because they dont know what happens afterwards
Who is the tragic hero? What does he represent? Why is he saying it?
How does he say it?
Is he the actor? Is the madman? Ultimate renaissance figure? Ultimate
tragic hero?
Relates to life and death
In media res? In the midst of things plays jumps straight into the drama
Her father prostitutes Ophelia out. Hamlet who she loves tells her to not
to speak to him and calls her a whore so does her brother. We feel sorry
for her. She feels very isolated. She is pushed to suicide.
Protestants dont believe in ghosts.
Claudius marries Hamlets mother and calls Hamlet his son
Hamlet is in aside shows conflict
Oedipus complex Hamlet might just be jealous of Claudius likes his
Outward appearance of insanity reality vs appearance or public vs
Claudius calls Hamlet a wimp/unmanly because he grieves over his
fathers death for a long time is he right?
Hamlet goes to the university where the protestant religion was born

His first soliloquy in book

Horatio being the voice of reason so the fact he sees the old king makes it
Is he crazy burden and seeing the ghost could make him crazy
Ghost wearing armour ready for battle foreshadows a sense of doom or
turmoil (angry) or reminder of that he is a king

Ophelia Act 1 scene 3
I think shes quite smart pretends to listen to their advice but doesnt
fully take it in
Tells them what they want to hear he hath importuned me with love in
honourable fashion
She is like Hamlet in the sense that she listens to her fathers opinions
Meek and feeble Yes I will obey you very obedient to the men in her
The men speak much more than her
Maybe she just plays the weak I do not know my lord what I should
Her answers become a lot shorter when her father speaks to her

Hamlet doesnt tell Ophelia he is pretending to be mad fragility thy name is
women. He uses her to think hes mad because if she thinks he is crazy she will
tell her father who is advisor to the king so theyll all think he is crazy.

Polonius blames Ophelia for Hamlet being mad due to lust

Act 2 Scene 2
Gertrude says her marriage is fast. Smart because she understands why
Hamlet is crazy
Smart because she understands to remain in power and be queen she has
to marry a king frailty thy name is woman contrasts to her because
she isnt weak she is strong and knows what she wants and get its too
Moves from a revenge story to a political intrigue
Hamlet knows his friends are spying so he comes across the smartest in
the play
Speaks in prose because his friends arent smart enough - contrasts with
subject matter very philosophical
Hes fully aware of his situation
He then later uses his friends spying to give false information

Conclusion spectacle is not visual but is still a spectacle