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Hamlet High School - Essay Example

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Hamlet High School

A good starting point in arguing that Hamlet is not hero is a closer look at the significant factors which make a hero. The most generally accepted definition of hero is "a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrifice his or her own life (Hero 1)." It should also be added that a hero "possesses abilities to perform extraordinary, beneficial deeds for which he or she is famous (Hero 1)." A hero is often contrasted to a villain is an evil character in a story.
Apparently, Hamlet is a villain. However, just because he is the main character in the story, he is mistakenly regarded as a tragic hero who, amidst his flaws and shortcomings is still dignified. Looking at the play, Hamlet killed Polonius with no remorse which drives his "beloved" Ophelia. He was also so overwhelmed with his vengeance and become directly and indirectly responsible to the death of almost all the characters. It should be noted that his demise could also be linked with his doings. The acts of Hamlet can considered villainous as the reasons behind these are not beneficial to others but are solely self-serving. Hamlet's "honorable" deed of killing Claudius to avenge his father, together with his self-centered soliloquies are strong proofs of his evil character.
It should be noted that Hamlet falls short of what a hero should be like. He is neither courageous nor noble. His quest to avenge his father by dethroning Claudius reveals his cowardice. Should Hamlet wanted true justice; he should have sought it in the proper manner. However, upon believing the ghost's account on the death of his father, he decided to kill Claudius. Thus, Hamlet's fear of not obtaining justice for his father's demise surfaced. Hamlet was fearful that he might not be entitled to justice just because Claudius, his father's murderer is the present king of Elsinore. At first this may seem defensible, as Elsinore was portrayed at the first part of the play "as an essentially corrupt place, an environment in which the nobler aspects of human life have been hopelessly compromised by the excessive attention to duplicity, double dealing, and Machiavellian politics." However, Hamlet's actions should not be attributed to the moral degradation and corruption in Elsinore. Accordingly, a hero should be responsible for the moral uplift of a certain locality. The aforementioned situation in Elsinore could not justify Hamlet's killings. In fact, if Hamlet is really a hero, he should have treated things differently by patiently waiting for justice. By killing Claudius, Hamlet proved that he is not a hero as he didn't have the courage as well as nobility to be considered one. Instead of promoting justice and morality, he directly contributed to their demise.
A hero as described above should be someone who is willing to sacrifice his own life and do things will be beneficial to others. Hamlet as portrayed by the story did not sacrifice anything. In fact, lives of four people were ruined because of his self-interest. Hamlet killed Polonius without regret. Upon killing the innocent Polonius, he remarked, "Thou wretched, rash, foolish I took thee for thy better." Thus, Polonius became a casualty of Hamlet's revenge together with his two friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
The extremely self-centered Hamlet should not be considered as a hero. His quest of avenging his father cannot be regarded as a pursuance of justice but satisfying his self interest. ...Show more


Shakespeare's Hamlet is considered one of the problematic texts written as there is a huge problem on how it should be treated and interpreted (Johnston 1). One of the widely debated issues about this play is the portrayal of the character of Hamlet who is widely regarded as its tragic hero…
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Hamlet High School Essay essay example
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