elements of tragedy in Hamlet


How is Hamlet a tragedy?

Element of tragedy

What is it?

How does it relate to Hamlet?


The main character 



Has the opposite characteristics to the main character

Claudius: he triggers Hamlet’s fatal flaw by murdering the old king


The fatal flaw (of the protagonist)

Hamlet’s indecisiveness

Tragic Victim

the character who suffers as a result of the protagonists fatal flaw.

Ophelia (she dies having done nothing wrong), Laertes, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern

Downfall (peripeteia)

the point in the play after which suffering pretty much becomes inevitable 

Hamlet could have killed Claudius but didn’t because he thought he was praying, this would have prevented the catastrophe. It  could also be when the ghost tels him about the murder, or when he sees claudius’ guilt during the play. Or perhaps when hamlet murders polonius.


this is an event that happens as a result of the downfall, and usually involves a death.

When all of the characters at the end of the play end up fighting, due to trying to protect Hamlet. Characters who are not ‘supposed’


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