Hamlet: a Hero or a Villian?

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William Shakespeare has written many plays, which include love, death, revenge, murder, and grief. Most of his plays have included numerous heroes and villains. One of his most famous plays that he wrote in 1599 was Hamlet, a play in which the son must take revenge for the murder of his father for his sake. During most of the play, Hamlet has a set goal on achieving the revenge for his father’s death, which makes the audience perceives Hamlet as the main hero of the play. However, along the way to that goal, Hamlet’s actions towards others to accomplish this goal leaves us to wonder, is Hamlet the actually hero seen by most of the audience or not? A hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. The main protagonist Hamlet, the son of Old King Hamlet, is the hero because he is intelligent and courageous.

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In Act 3, scene 3 of the play, Hamlet is about to kill Claudius with his sword. This may seem as the whole goal for avenging his father’s death, but the timing of Hamlet’s actions is off. Claudius is currently praying while Hamlet has the sword drawn and ready to stab him, so Hamlet stops and realizes that if he kills Claudius now, he will not suffer like his own father and so the revenge for his father will be for nothing. Right before he is about to stab Claudius he says, And so he goes to heaven, and so am I revenged.’ That would be scanned: A villain kills my father, and for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven to heaven.’ Why, this hire and salary, not revenge.’ He took my father grossly, full of bread, with all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May; And how his audit stands who knows save heaven. But in our circumstance and course of thought Tis heavy with him.’ And am I then revenged to take him in the purging of his soul, when he is fit and seasoned for his passage?’ No.’

When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage, or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed, at game a-swearing, or about some act that has no relish of salvation in the then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven, and that his soul may be as damned and black as hell, whereto it goes.’ My mother stays.’ This physic but prolongs thy sickly days. (167).

Hamlet recognizes that he must wait for Claudius to be in a position where he is not forgiving his sins. Hamlet then makes a rational and intelligent decision and waits to kill Claudius for now. If Hamlet were to kill Claudius, then and there he wouldn’t fully fulfil on his promise to his father to take revenge upon his death.

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Hamlet: A Hero Or A Villian?. (2019, Apr 05). Retrieved February 6, 2023 , from

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