Hamlet the Hero

4 April 2015
A discussion on whether Hamlet is a hero.

This essay questions whether Hamlet should be considered a hero. The author argues that Hamlet’s actions do not meet the requirements of a hero since he did not find the moral strength to perform the actions required to bring an end to the rot and violence in the Danish court.
We are accustomed to thinking of Hamlet as the hero of the play that bears his name, the avenger of his father, the man who returns a sense of justice and order to the land of Denmark. And yet a closer reading of the play suggests that while Hamlet is in some sense a hero, he is also quite clearly culpable in some sense. His own indecisiveness and unwillingness to act in the end cause a great deal of harm in the world. In the end he has failed to be a bulwark against evil. This passivity of his is certainly not as morally wrong as is the active evil involved in the murder of his father. But neither is it heroism, constituting no outstanding feat of virtue.

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