Things Fall Apart And Hamlet Comparison

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The perfect tragedy requires the perfect tragic hero. Aristotle, a famous Greek philosopher, defines both of these terms for the common Western dramatic narrative. He describes a tragedy as a work in which significant events lead to unfortunate consequences for the protagonist. The plot of a tragedy follows a tragic hero from extreme fortune to a sudden peripeteia, reversal of fate, which ends with the tragic hero becoming supremely disconsolate due to the events of their tragic fall. An Aristotelian tragic hero possesses specific traits, including hamartia, the character’s tragic flaw, and hubris, superfluous arrogance, which must cause their own misfortune. Two works of literature, the novel Things Fall Apart and the play Hamlet, both exemplify…show more content…
Hamlet remains one step ahead of Claudius until his indecisive nature prevents him from killing his uncle; his doubt over his revenge is shown by Hamlet’s pondering, “And am I then revenged / To take him in the purging of his soul / When he is fit and seasoned for his passage?” (Shakespeare 3.3.85). Hamlet, having just confirmed Claudius’s guilt through the dramatization of Old Hamlet’s murder, possess the upper hand over Claudius. He could easily kill Claudius and end his revenge plot rather quickly. However, this moment becomes the peripeteia of the play because Hamlet’s error in choosing to kill Claudius at a later time leads to his own eventual downfall. This moment in Hamlet could have saved countless lives, but Hamlet’s miscalculation of opportunity allows Claudius to formulate his retaliation. The play’s use of peripeteia, an action key to any Aristotelian tragedy, only further showcases Hamlet as the perfect tragedy. At the conclusion of the play, after numerable deaths, Horatio elucidates to the visiting prince, “So shall you hear / Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts, / Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters, / Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause, / And, in this upshot, purposes mistook / Fall’n on th’ inventors’ heads” (Shakespeare 5.2.384). Here the numerable deaths denote the end…show more content…
In a classic Shakespeare soliloquy, Hamlet questions, “To be, or not to be? That is the question- / Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer / The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, / Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, / And, by opposing, end them?” (Shakespeare 3.1.57). This scene showcases Hamlet’s hamartia, his indecisive nature. Hamlet’s tragic flaw makes him an Aristotelian tragic hero because Hamlet’s eventual downfall is caused by his indecision to act or to plan any specific course of action. Later in the play, after slaying Polonius, Hamlet goes to visit his mother, and Hamlet insists, “Heaven’s face doth glow / O’er this solidity and compound mass / With tristful visage, as against the doom, / Is though-sick at the act” (Shakespeare 3.4.49). Hamlet’s hubris appears when he decides to act as a godly judge for Gertrude’s actions. Having just fatally stabbed Polonius, Hamlet feels perfectly justified in mocking his mother’s sins. This sequence of events satisfies Aristotle’s ideal of a tragic hero with excessive pride because Hamlet’s egotism precludes him from seeing his own errs as damnation worthy while he condemns other’s

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