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Eleanor PrescottHamletRevision Notes
Notes on Shakespearean Tragedy made from David Chandler's Essay
`The Essence of Shakespearean Tragedy'.
Protagonists are portrayed vividly as human beings, showing certain character traits that the
audience can find believable and have the sense of tragedy aroused in them. For example in
`Hamlet' this is shown by the intelligence and philosophising shown by the protagonist, and
in another Shakespeare tragedy, `Othello', it is Othello's strength of character.
"Such characterization of the central figures is well suited
to expressing tragedy."
Each tragedy includes ambition that is frustrated, or hopes that are dashed. For Hamlet, this
ambition is avenging his father, but it becomes complicated by everything else going on
within the play.
Of course, death to the protagonist is prominent to all Shakespeare tragedies. "Death
is important in expressing tragedy because it is at the very
heart of the paradox of disappointment."
In `Hamlet', "The tragedy in Hamlet is not specifically Hamlet's
death, but the overall miscalculation and unnecessary
bloodshed. Hamlet's own death merely confirms the disaster."