Hamlet: Characteristics of Tragedy

Hamlet is killed with a poisoned sword by Laertes. The main character, or tragic hero, comes to an unhappy end.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark The tragic hero is a person of importance in society.
Hamlet is smart, clever, and resourceful The tragic hero exhibits extraordinary abilities.
Hamlet is vengeful, waits too long, emotional, and over-thinks things The hero has a tragic flaw that leads to his or her downfall.
Laertes stabs Hamlet and Claudius try to poison Hamlet Outside forces may also contribute to the hero’s downfall.
The Ghost coming back and telling Hamlet to seek revenge causes all of the problems leading up to the fencing scene (catastrophe) A series of events leads to a catastrophe, or tragic resolution, often involving the hero’s death.
When Hamlet meets Fortinbras, he realizes his need to seek revenge on Claudius The hero eventually recognizes his or her tragic flaw and thus gains the audience’s sympathy.
Hamlet’s sword-match with Laertes require a lot of bravery The hero meets doom with courage and dignity, reaffirming the grandeur of the human spirit.
The gravediggers at Ophelia’s funeral are an example of comic relief. The story contains comic relief the lighten the play’s dramatic and negative tone.

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