Hamlet's Tragic Flaws

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In Shakespeare’s’ tragedies, one element is consistent- the tragic hero. Each tragic hero shares certain traits that contribute to his tragedy. They possess a fault that will eventually lead to their demise. Shakespeare’s tragic hero is a man of noble birth who falls from a position of honor and respect due to a flaw in his character. Hamlet and Macbeth are portrayed as tragic heroes through their nobility, tragic flaws, and errors in judgment. During the first scenes of Shakespeare’s plays Hamlet and Macbeth, Hamlet and Macbeth’s noble status is immediately established. Before Macbeth is introduced to the audience, Duncan and Ross speak of his greatness. Duncan is thrilled to hear of “noble Macbeth[’s]” victory over Norway, and tells Ross…show more content…
Macbeth encounters the witches after his victory over Norway. Here they hail Macbeth “that shalt be King” (1.3.51). this favoring prophecy triggers the downfall of Macbeth. “[He has] no spur to prick the sides of [his] intent, but only vaulting ambition” (1.7.25-27) will eventually kill him. His ambition leads him to accept “the very firstlings of [his] heart, shall be/The firstlings of his hand” (4.1.147-148). Hamlet’s promise to avenge his father’s death by killing Claudius is put on hold because his finds himself “thinking to precisely on the’ event” (4.4.40). Hamlet’s indecisiveness is the flaw in his character. He contemplates the reasons not to kill Claudius while Claudius is praying. If Hamlet were to kill Claudius while he is repenting of his sins, he would go to heaven with his acts forgiven. In his opportune time to assassinate Claudius, Hamlet’s mind wanders to an act of the murder that “has no relish of salvation in it [. . .] and that his soul may be as damned and as black as hell” (3.3.92-93). It is ironic that Claudius is unable to repent of his sins, and Hamlet’s opportunity to murder is lost. These tragic flaws lead to the errors in judgment of these…show more content…
This once “noble Macbeth” (1.2.67), listens to the prophecies given by the witches, which causes his desire to be king to be unleashed. If these foretelling had not been offered to Macbeth, his selfish ambition would not have been a component in the murder. In the beginning of Macbeth, we find Macbeth to have no strength in mind. He cannot make his own decisions without the aid of his wife, Lady Macbeth. Although he is a ‘soldier’ on the outside, he is a coward on the inside. As the prophecy that he will be king unfolds, he is torn between killing Duncan, and what he knows to be right. Lady Macbeth and his own ambition coax him to “[. . .] screw [his] courage to the sticking place and [they will] not fail” (1.2.70-71). Throughout Hamlet, Hamlet’s indecisiveness leads to his destruction. He contemplates not only to kill Claudius, but whether “[t]o 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” (3.1.56-60). His mind always acquires the best of him because he thinks “too precisely on th’ event” (4.4.40). Regardless if his contemplation is over killing Claudius, or his own self-destruction, his indecisiveness always overrules him. Macbeth and Hamlet’s tragic flaws lead to
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