Does Hamlet Have A Tragic Flaw?Question: Does Hamlet have a tragic flaw? If so, what is it and how does iteffect his surroundings and how does it effect Hamlet himself? What is theoutcome of his flaw?Hamlet has a tragic flaw in his personality and behavior. His flaw is that he isoverly concerned with death and tragedy. This flaw or weakness in Hamlet leadshim into a world of chaotic surroundings and madness. Hamlet’s flaw and his madpersonality led to the death of several people, including his mother and theKing of Denmark! If Hamlet did not have this fascination with death and tragedy,the deaths of the several people would not have occurred–including his own.
Hamlet did not always have this flaw in his personality. The flaw was presentedto him by a ghost. The ghost of Hamlet’s father told Hamlet that he was murderedby Claudius and asked Hamlet to avenge his murder. This is where the flaw isadopted by Hamlet and begins to effect his life. Hamlet begins to dig deeper anddeeper to find the truth. He puts on an act of madness to disguise his revenge.
Hamlet becomes so over-whelmed with death that death is all he thinks or caresabout. The death and deception burn into his heart like a hot branding iron to asteer. Hamlet’s flaw is intact. Hamlet has a friend, Horatio, who knows of themurder of Hamlet’s father. Hamlet could trust Horatio with his plans andopinions. Horatio acted as an advisor to Hamlet, but he did not tell Hamlet thathe was heading in the wrong direction. Because of this Hamlet’s heart poundedhard with the thought of revenge. The flaw was there and the stage was set fortragedy. There was no way for Hamlet to change his destiny. “Haste me to know ‘t,that I, with wings as swift As meditation or the thought of love May sweep to myrevenge.”Hamlet’s surrounding are increasingly affected by his flaw. Hamlet begins toforget all important obligations in his life and neglects his responsibilities,causing other problems. One very important commitment Hamlet has which he letsgo is his relationship with Ophelia. Ophelia becomes very confused and hurt.
Hamlet hurts her in a couple of ways. First, he neglects her, and second, heinsults her. “Ha, ha! Are you honest?Are you fair?That if you be honest andfair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty. I loved you notGet thee to a nunnery.” Then Hamlet kills Polonius, Ophelia’s father, which inturn makes her go mad and in her madness she commits suicide. Hamlet losesobjectivity. He does not respect the King nor his mother’s feelings. Hamletmeets with his mother and insults her. He calls her a whore and a sinner formarrying a murderer. Since he knows that the King is a murderer, he attempts toexpose him. Hamlet stages a play in which the players act out the scenes of KingHamlet’s murder. This greatly upsets the new King and the King adopts some ofHamlet’s obsessions with death and begins to think of a way to get rid of Hamlet.
All of the deaths in the play occur because of Hamlet’s actions and hisfascination with death. Ophelia dies because Hamlet kills Polonius. This drivesOphelia mad and then she commits suicide. I think she saw the truth of thetreachery that was going on and thought that her death would be the bettercourse of action. The King plots to kill Hamlet in a duel between Laertes andHamlet. The tip of Laertes rapier was poisoned. He cuts Hamlet and then Hamletgets Laertes’ poisoned rapier and cuts Laertes. They both will die. Then Hamletwas supposed to drink out of a poisoned glass of wine but doesn’t, so his motherdoes and she dies. The truth comes out. Hamlet then goes and stabs the King andpours poison down his throat. He dies. Then Hamlet and Laertes die from thepoison. Horatio is left standing alive. Hamlet’s actions have killed all thenobility in Denmark.
If Hamlet did not have this fascination with death and tragedy, the deaths ofseveral people would not have occurred, including his own. If Hamlet did notpursue his flaw and had chosen a different path, perhaps his life wouldn’t haveended in tragedy. The theme of the play is tragedy leads to chaos and chaosleads to death; and life cannot exist without the three. It is a cycle andHamlets’ flaw causes his cycle to become shortened. “O, I die, Horatio!”