Insanity: a derangement of the mind. Coward: someone who lacks courage and bravery in the face of danger, difficulty, hardships, opposition, or pain. Hamlet: a character that rapidly loses his sanity after a strange encounter with his father’s ghost and acts indecisively out of fear for his own fate. In Act 1 of Hamlet, the tragic hero, Hamlet, confides in his friends that he is going to begin to act mad. As the play progresses, it is obvious that Hamlet’s madness becomes a reality rather than just an appearance and is connected to his desire of revenge for the ruesome murder of his father by his uncle.
Day after day, Hamlet tirelessly contemplates how to reap the victory of revenge. However, this tragic hero is a tragic coward, which can be ultimately noted for his tragic downfall, as it contributed to his madness, causing his rapid mental decay and inhibiting his ability to make a decisive action, leaving him to be the weak one in the end. Hamlet knows that Claudius killed his father, and when the opportunity arises to get his revenge, Hamlet is too much of a coward to take it.
Claudius appears to be praying, so Hamlet ecides it isn’t the right time to kill him; “A villain kills my father, and for that, I his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven” (Page 167, lines 81-83). Hamlet is being fed the appearance of what seems be Claudius praying, which leads Hamlet to the notion that killing him at such a time wouldn’t result in the damnation of his soul as he wishes. However, this appearance isn’t reality; Hamlet is simply acting out of fear and cowardice.
Claudius was not praying, he even said it himself that he could not utter a prayer. This left Hamlet to continue ecaying as his madness took over because this path to revenge was being obstructed. He couldn’t overcome his cowardice to exact his revenge, which left him to live with such a burden of a tragic flaw. Hamlet’s mind was stuck in his own realm of madness and insanity that hindered him from being successful in his plot for retaliation. Hamlet knows that he is acting cowardly by not killing Claudius to get revenge for his father’s death.
In his soliloquy he makes note that maybe he is a coward, but his emotions have overcome his ability to be brave and do what must be done. He eels as though his emotions are meaningless to the rest of Denmark, and that everyone is over the King’s death but him. Yet when the actors perform with such emotion, everyone is excited and connects with their performance, but not with Hamlet’s true emotions. He is angry that they can show this fake emotion and it is accepted and acknowledged, yet he is forced to hide his and when it shows through, it is deterred.
Hamlet feels alone now more than ever and does not want to be so meek in taking action, but he is. “(O vengeance! ) Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave, That I, the son of a dear ather murdered, Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell, must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words And fall a- cursing like a very drab, A stallion! ” (Page 119, lines 610-616). Hamlet’s father, the king of Denmark, was just killed and all he can do is stand around, like a coward, too anxious and timid to take any action.
Hamlet recognized his own cowardly behavior and begins to feel remorseful that he hasn’t gotten revenge for his father’s death; Hamlet is trying to tell himself that he must gain composure and fight off his cowardice in order to achieve edress. This also contributes to Hamlet’s death because he is not able to possess the bravery and courage needed to kill Claudius even after this soliloquy in which he tries to gather his valor. Since he lacks the courage, drive, and decisiveness to plan such an event, Claudius is able to use his own devices to get to Hamlet first.
Hamlet is unable to let bravery shine through his cowardice, so the opposing characters are able to get to him before he can even think of a way to get to them. Hamlet continues to show cowardly behavior as he displays is inability to commit to his own death, which he desires, as he questions the unknown and. Hamlet has been driven mad after finding out from the ghost that Claudius killed his father. When he fails to avenge his father’s death, Hamlet becomes more insane and rapidly decays to the point where he is unsure whether or not his life is worth living.
In his famous monologue, Hamlet questions whether or not he should commit suicide. He displays his tragic flaw of cowardice as he fears the unknown, which happens to be the most momentous question known to man of “what comes after death? “. To die, to sleep– To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub, For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause” (Page 127, lines 71-76). Hamlet could have been in charge of his own fate, but he was a coward and questioned what would come next, causing him to be indecisive.
His madness elicited questions of his existence, but his cowardice repressed him to follow through with his desire of revenge. This led to his physical murder by Laertes, but also the demise of his character. Hamlet could have been in charge of his own fate. If he wanted to die and stop suffering, he should have put his cowardice behind him and killed himself. Conversely, if he wanted to go on with life and live in the known, he should have taken control of his emotions and killed Claudius to get the revenge his father deserved. But he didn’t do this.
Instead, he let his tragic flaw engulf his being, which made him vulnerable to the poison of Laertes’s sword. His madness clouded his judgement and kept him from devising a plan to kill Claudius and keep himself alive. Contrastly, Laertes didn’t care what happened to him, alive or dead; it was all rrelevant as long as he got revenge for the death of Polonius and Ophelia. This allowed him to have an edge over Hamlet, which led to his physical death, but not the demise of his character, as he went down for his fervor, while Hamlet went down as a coward.
Hamlet lost hold of his own fate as he grew mad and decayed, acting as a coward, while Laertes’s based his actions upon his passion and desire for revenge. Hamlet proves himself to be a cowardly character due to his inability to make a decision and his lack of action throughout the play. This tragic flaw leads to Hamlet’s ultimate demise. If e was brave, Hamlet would have been able to conquer his quest of revenge, but he fell flat and let his cowardice hold him back.
It drove him mad to know that he was his own worst enemy, that he was the reason the search for the revenge of his father’s death was so drawn out, that he couldn’t control his emotions enough to care about anything other than his own selfish, cowardly desires but still couldn’t follow through on them. Even though he got his revenge in the end, he can’t be considered completely victorious as a hero because he died as an insane coward and will be remembered for his decay.