What is Hamlet’s Tragic Flaw?

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Hamlet by Shakespeare is a play that can be studied from various perspectives. It deals with different themes and one of the most discussed one is Providentialism. Hamlet´s disobedience and opposition to the new Kings Claudius ideas and principles, displays contradictions during the play that are worthy analyzing and discussing in debt. Finally, the relationship and disputes between Claudius and Hamlet will make Hamlet think about the topics that include modern identity, freedom and questioning of Providentialism and if these ideas could be conserved and passed along after his death. Hamlet indeed is a religious character in the play, but it is important to note that he develops a combination of the old and new implications of it. Possibly, for reasons such as the condition when the play was written.

In England it was period where an important role took social hierarchy: As Dollimore, Jonathan and Alan Sinfield claim, ¨What the play signify, how they signify, depend on the cultural field in which they are situated¨. Hamlet questions Providentialism on a political level when he is opposed to Claudius' ideas and principples. In addition, it is not only on a political level that Hamlet questions Providentialism, he also mentions it after talking to the Ghost: Act I, vi, 28-32, ¨Haste me to know ’t, that I, with wings as swift as meditation or the thoughts of love, May sweep to my revenge.¨ Where he clearly states that he is going to commit the revenge no matter what.¨ Hamlet seems confused, therefore he seeks answers if the Ghost is evil or good: Act I, ii, 41-50, ¨Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned¨ as he finds problematic seeing if the ghost is his father or another kind of a spirit.

Nevertheless, Hamlet becomes perceived as a threat, because Claudius starts to sense that behind the lovesickness, he could know about his real intentions and therefore act certain ways. Which is completely true, since Hamlet´s way of thinking about a king would match the following phrase but at the same time serves as an opposition to Claudius: James I, the Kind of Scotland, has claimed, ¨And as the Father of his fatherly duety is bounde to care for the nourishing, education and virtuous government oh his children: even so is the Kind bounde to care for all his subjects¨ (1598).Act I, ii, 64, ¨But now, my cousin Hamlet and my son ¨ by this line Claudius directly has let Hamlet know how he sees their relationship should be, meaning Claudius is considering Hamlet not only as his nephew, but also as his son now, making a statement that now they are going to have a familiar relationship.

To which Hamlet responds in a rejecting way: Act I, ii, 65 ¨A little more than kin, and less than kind ¨ in which the ¨kin¨ stands for the cousin and ¨kind¨ meaning he has not been considerate about his choices to which Hamlet is showing his opinion demonstratively and adds: Act I, ii, 67, ¨I am too much in the sun¨, where sun is the pon of the word son, which makes it sound amusing and almost comic in the response of Claudius. As an alternative Hamlet searches for a modern identity instead of Providentialism that would open doors for more freedom. It makes more obstacles to Claudius because he senses that with these ideas his plans could be in danger.


Hamlet´s challenge in this sense is successful, since he has not let Claudius no longer be the king, although it has cost him his own life. Nevertheless, within the death of Hamlet also many ideas of his would no longer exist after his death. Since, Hamlet used to do more thinking than actual conquering and convincing and passing his ideas to others. It is important to take into the account that Hamlet is a complex character that majority of other characters in the play were not capable of understanding for that reason Providentialism would most likely not be having any contradictions unless a new character with similar ideologies would appear and support his ideas, although without having following traits such as being melancholic and indecisive with his decisions, but more firm and almost unemotional.

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What is Hamlet's Tragic Flaw?. (2020, Nov 18). Retrieved July 21, 2024 , from

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