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Meghan Cannon

Mr. Palcsey

Honors English 10

October 17, 2017

Option 4: The Tragic Hero

Heroes are defined by the actions they take, but they either live to see their fall or die

heroically. Tragedy is defined as a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the

protagonist and a superior force and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that excites pity

or terror. A tragic hero is a character who experiences conflict and suffers catastrophically

because of their choices and actions. Hamlet, therefore, is a Shakespearean tragic hero who has

two fatal flaws: his inability to act and his tendency to overthink.

His inability to act is Hamlets first fatal flaw and goes hand in hand with his second fatal

flaw his tendency to overthink. Hamlet has the perfect opportunity to kill King Claudius while he

is on his knees praying. When the opportunity came he was ready strike with his sword raised

high. At this point he starts to overthink his plan by questions regarding if Claudius is praying for

his sins. By then Hamlet does not want to send his uncle to heaven but hell. Hamlet decides to

wait for another perfect opportunity where he is certain his uncle will pay for his sins in hell.

This act shows how Hamlet overthinks everything he does which leads to him not being able to

avenge his father.

Hamlet has many internal conflicts that he overthinks that render him unable to act. He

does not know if he should kill himself or Claudius in act 3 scene1, “To be or not to be.” This is
one of Hamlets many internal conflicts with himself that renders him unable to avenge his father

nor kill himself. Hamlet does not know if he can believe the ghost is his dead father or the devil.

If it is not his dead father then he kills Claudius and sends his own soul to hell. If he does not kill

him then he does not avenge his father’s death and his father’s soul will not rest. He debates

many questions to great length, and promises himself to resolve them by action, yet he fails to do

so. He is a character more in love with internal debate than just getting the job done.

A Shakespearean tragic hero is based off real historical figures of England. First,

Shakespearean tragedies all have fatal flaws that ultimately lead to the characters demise. Then it

shows the audience a man with excessive wealth and power that makes his eventual downfall all

the more tragic. Finally, they have external pressures where the tragic hero often falls victim to:

fate, evil spirits and manipulative characters. Hamlet has his two fatal flaws: his inability to act

and his tendency to overthink. Hamlet is the prince of Denmark which means during the play

when he kills Polonius, a loyal servant and friend to the King he gets in no trouble because of his

status. Hamlet falls to the manipulative character Claudius who killed the late King Hamlet and

eventually helped killed his nephew, Hamlet. All these apply to Hamlet but that he is not a

historical figure of England but a fictional character. Greek tragic heroes are often based upon

myths from oral traditions or archaic epics. Hamlet is a fictional character made up by

Shakespeare. A Greek tragic play was always inspired by Greek mythology which was a part of

Greek religion. During these plays there was no violence or deaths on stage because of the


Hamlet is a Shakespearean hero who has two fatal flaws: his inability to act and his

tendency to overthink that ultimately lead to his demise. His tendency to overthink like when he

questioned if he should kill his uncle or himself is why he has an inability to act. When he
overthinks something, he stops himself from acting. Both his fatal flaws go hand in hand in order

to aid with his downfall. He is more interested in his internal debates than acting on his revenge.