What is Hamlets Tragic Flaw?

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It is a valid argument that evil is something that we all possess in one way or another. It is also true that evil draws its power from indecision, this can be examined through Hamlet's behaviour in the play. Hamlet the protagonist has revealed the tendency to overthink and procrastinate upon situations. Life-changing decisions can be made if one is inept to act before thinking. In William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet’s tragic flaw is undoubtedly exhibited through procrastination, in addition to his inability to act upon important situations, which ultimately leads to his death.

It is straightforward to identify that the death of Hamlet's father and his mother's remarriage has taken a detriment on Hamlet. Hamlet has extensively demonstrated noticeable signs of indecisive behaviour to take his own life. Hamlet then questions himself on the topic of Suicide, which is perceived through his thoughts saying: “To be or not to be-that is the question: Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them. To die, to sleep-no more…” (Shakespeare, 2012, 3.1. 64-69).

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Essentially, Hamlet expresses his fancy to perish. We can observe how he philosophizes and what he thinks about life. He wants to desperately free himself of this affliction that he is experiencing. Nonetheless, Hamlet cannot wrap his mind around the thought of ending himself. He states “To sleep, perchance to dream- ay, there’s the rub, For him in that sleep of death what dreams may come” (Shakespeare, 2012, 3.1. 66-67). Hamlet has these notorious thoughts, he compares death to going to sleep. Hamlet displays that his life is a bunch of burdens that lay upon him, in addition to the calamities that have thus far. The more thoughts he presents about death, the more he becomes indecisive committing suicide. By the final stages of his so profound soliloquy, Hamlet has not determined a decision, therefore, is in a state of indecision.

At the beginning of the play, Hamlet was given a task to avenge his father's death by the ghost, former king of Denmark. Immediately Hamlet wants to take action upon Claudius, but when Hamlet gets the perfect chance to do so he procrastinates to kill Claudius. Hamlet perpetually assembles an excuse to inact upon important situations which leads him to indecision. “ O Oh, my offence is rank. It smells to heaven. It hath the primal eldest curse upon ‘t, A brothers murder” (Shakespeare, 2012, 3.3.40-43). Hamlet finds himself with the king, alone, praying and reflecting. This is his shot to kill Claudius but Hamlet has a reason why he shouldn't kill him just yet. “ Now might I do it. Now he is a-praying… And so he goes to heaven. And so am I revenged… A villain kills my father, and, for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send To heaven.” (Shakespeare, 2012,3.3. 77-83). Hamlet then proceeds to employ his religion as a justification to procrastinate. Although he procrastinates he has a valid argument to this, anyone killed in prayer will automatically ascend to heaven. Hamlet would rather wait for a better moment to kill him, possibly whilst he is committing an act that has no goodness about it.

It is evident that Hamlet's indecision and inability to act upon important scenarios are affecting him in whether or not he will avenge the death of his beloved father, just prolonging the process of killing Claudius.

Hamlet is a man who’s logic is valuable and is very proactive, he is always making decisions. Now after waiting for an extensive period of time Hamlet has still not decided to kill Claudius. At first, Hamlet was certain that the ghost's word is true and states: “Remember thee Yea, from the table of my memory… And thy commandment all alone shall live Within the book and volume of my brain” (Shakespeare, 2012, 1.5. 104-110). Hamlet displays that he trusts the ghost and that he believes him. However soon to acknowledge eventually Hamlet questions the ghost is he's telling the truth or not. “The spirit that I have seen May be the devil, and the devil hath power T' assume a pleasing shape… Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king”

(Shakespeare, 2012, 2.2. 627-633). Hamlets want to observe if it really was Claudius who murdered his father. Yet, again like a broken record, this is Hamlet's famous display of fine art called procrastination at its finest. Hamlet's decision to catch Claudius was to put on a play coincidentally named “The Mouse-Trap”. After the performance of the play the King becomes angered and yelled: “Give me some light. Away!” (Shakespeare,2012, 3.2. 295). Thus satisfying Hamlet that the ghost was indeed truthful and that Claudius is the Murderer. Evidently, at the end of the play Hamlet's procrastination and indecisive behaviour catch up to him as he is killed by Laertes. Only because of this Hamlet kills Claudius after Laertes spills the news to Hamlet. It took Hamlet months to kill him because of his overthinking. In truth, many situations could have been prevented if he could act without thinking.

In the tragedy of Hamlet, Shakespeare demonstrates Hamlet’s tragic flaw to be observed through his constant procrastination, as well as the inability to act upon important situations, which ultimately lead to his death. Ophelia is a woman that is special to Hamlet. In the play, Hamlet confesses that he loved Ophelia. “I Loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers Could not with all their quantity of love Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her” (Shakespeare, 2012, 5.1. 285-287). Hamlet certainly through these words says that he loved her. Hamlet even wrote a letter that showed he loved Ophelia. “Doubt thou the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move, Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love” (Shakespeare, 2012, 2.2. 124-127). Hamlet has just thrown down some immense words here. Yet again, Hamlet's indecision is shown up again with Ophelia, and now he doesn't love her and never has. Hamlet tells Ophelia “Get thee to a nunnery” (Shakespear,2012, 3.1. 131). Hamlet here is basically telling Ophelia to get to the whorehouse or in other terms brothel. In addition, he also says to Ophelia “ You should not have believed me… I loved you not” (Shakespeare, 2012, 3.1. 127-129). This indicating that Hamlet is indecisive does he love the poor girl or not? Hamlet's indecision and inability to act without thought have been quite the epidemic to himself. Unanimously this has affected him in various ways. If Hamlet could act without philosophizing would the play have taken a drastic turn of events?

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What is Hamlets Tragic Flaw? (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 25, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/hamlet-and-tragic-flaw/
“What is Hamlets Tragic Flaw?” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/hamlet-and-tragic-flaw/
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What is Hamlets Tragic Flaw? [Internet] Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 16 [cited 2024 Jul 25]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/hamlet-and-tragic-flaw/

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