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Question: In a well constructive essay, discuss how Hamlet can be defined as a tragic hero because his downfall is caused by weakness within himself and not by external factors
Title: Hamlet: The Quintessential Tragic Hero Introduction: William Shakespeare's Hamlet encapsulates the archetype of a tragic hero in English literature. Unlike conventional heroes, a tragic hero is a protagonist who is afflicted by a tragic weakness within himself, which leads to his downfall. Hamlet's existential melancholy, indecisiveness, and overthinking affirm him as a tragic figure rather than his circumstances or external factors clouding his life. Body: The Concept of a Tragic Hero: To fully understand why Hamlet can be defined as a tragic hero, it is essential to delineate the concept. The classical definition of a tragic hero, as conceived by Aristotle, involves a character of noble birth, who makes a fatal mistake inducing his tragic downfall, suffers more than he deserves, and finally, gains self-realization. Hamlet aligns impeccably with these criteria, validating his position as a tragic hero. Hamlet's Noble Birth and High Estate: Born to the reigning King of Denmark and his Queen, Hamlet is a Prince by noble birth. This high estate emphasizes the tragic scope of his eventual downfall. The nobility of his birth is not limited to his royal lineage but extends to his intellectual and philosophical prowess, making the psychological tragedy of his fall all the more poignant. Hamlet's Hamartia: Arguably, Hamlet's tragic flaw, or 'Hamartia,' is his indecision and procrastination. This internal flaw inhibits him from avenging his father's murder promptly. Hamlet’s struggle to interpret his moral obligation in light of his human nature amplifies this weakness. His indecisiveness is not brought upon by external conditions but is inherently a part of his character. The Downfall of Hamlet: His internal struggle and indecision culminate in his tragic downfall, which is an essential trait of a tragic hero. It isn't external factors but Hamlet's inability to make decisions that lead to chaos, death, and finally, his end. His self-inflicted mental torment turns him towards the path of downfall, accepting death as an ultimate release. Suffering and Self-Realization: Hamlet's suffering exceeds his wrong-doings. His anguish is not only physical but psychological, haunted by his father’s ghost, betrayed by his friends, and caught in an incestuous web. His self-realization comes too late when faced with death, and he acknowledges his destiny, this tragic knowledge further accentuates Hamlet's tragic stature. Conclusion: In the light of the discussed points, Hamlet is an embodiment of the tragic hero. His fall is not due to an external entity or event, but because of inherent flaws – indecision and existential despair – which manipulates him into his tragic end. Despite Hamlet's melancholic conclusion, his introspection, contemplation and cognitive battles set him apart as one of the most intriguing tragic heroes in literature.
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