No hat upon his head; his stockings foul'd

Download 47,54 Kb.
Date conversion14.07.2017
Size47,54 Kb.
Heroes are people who, when faced with difficult situations, make decisions for the greater good, disregarding any selfish notions. In the play, Hamlet, the protagonist is faced with a series of situations where difficult choices had to be made. Hamlet was unfortunately forced into his situation, and because of that many choices he made were incorrect. One can say that Hamlet should be remembered as a hero more so than a villain. This will be proven by looking at Hamlet’s sacrifices throughout the play, how he adheres to his conscience, and how he does right by demanding justice.

Hamlet can be classified as a hero because of the many sacrifices he made throughout the book to avenge his father’s death. In this passage, the audience realized Hamlet’s real affections for Ophelia: “I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers, Could not, with all their quantity of love, Make up my sum.” (Act V, Scene I, 270-273) Hamlet showed his true affections for Ophelia a little bit too late, as he proclaims it in the midst of her funeral procession. The readers have known throughout the book how strongly he felt towards her, but no other character did. Hamlet’s life was so totally engrossed in seeking revenge for his father upon Claudius, that he forgot the one he loved so much, which was a major sacrifice for Hamlet. In these verses, Ophelia described to her father, Polonius, the behaviour of Hamlet one night:

Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced;
No hat upon his head; his stockings foul'd,
Ungarter'd, and down-gyved to his ankle;
Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of hell
To speak of horrors—he comes before me.

(Act II, Scene I, 77-83)

One might think that the way she is describing Hamlet, that he had lost his mind. It is a fair presumption, as she told her father that he just shook her and gave her a ghostly stare. Hamlet’s mind is so scrambled from this newfound information about the death of his father, that he was unable to bring his mind back to reality, but was in a state of impending insanity. This encounter with Ophelia was the first sign of him losing his mind. Sacrificing his mind and sanity for his father was a major sacrifice in his life. Many heroes have to sacrifice things that are important to them, and in this play, Hamlet sacrificed the two most important things in his life, his love and his sanity, which shows his heroic personality.

Hamlet was a hero because he showed that despite all the blows dealt to him, he was still adhering to his conscience. Here Hamlet spoke to the audience about his conscience:

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
  And thus the native hue of resolution
   Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
  And enterprises of great pitch and moment
   With this regard their currents turn awry,
    And lose the name of action.

(Act III, Scene I, 83-87)

In these lines, Hamlet said that a conscience makes a person a coward of their action. This could be interpreted as Hamlet thinking that murdering the King is too difficult to carry out because he had such a good conscience and murder would linger on his conscience. This showed Hamlet’s heroic side, because even after all the horrific deeds done by Claudius, he knew that taking the life of another was still wrong and he could not live with the blood of another on his hands, guilty or not. Here the audience saw Hamlet with the chance to kill Claudius.

'Tis heavy with him: and am I then revenged,

   To take him in the purging of his soul,
    When he is fit and season'd for his passage?
    Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:
   When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,
    Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed;
   At gaming, swearing, or about some act
    That has no relish of salvation in't;
    Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
    And that his soul may be as damn'd and black

(Act III, Scene III, 84-94)

In these lines, Hamlet had the chance to kill Claudius as he was praying in the Chapel, while he was unaware of Hamlet’s presence. Hamlet refused to behave this way, proclaiming if he killed him then and there, he would have sent Claudius to heaven. Hamlet thought to wait until Claudius was in the act of sinning to kill him, thus righteously. As a reader, one may interpret this as Hamlet taking the easy way out by scrambling to explain why he did not kill Claudius. Hamlet did not have the heart to commit murder at that particular moment, no matter how much Claudius ill-treated him, or his father. Hamlet’s conscience was holding him back from murder at this point in the story because it was still morally wrong. Every hero fights an inner battle within themselves to do the most challenging thing, and Hamlet’s inner turmoil is no different, therefore showing that Hamlet is a hero.

Hamlet can be considered a hero because he was simply trying to do the correct and right thing. The ghost of King Hamlet told Hamlet that Claudius murdered him:

I find thee apt;
   And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
    That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
    Wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear:
    'Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
    A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Denmark
    Is by a forged process of my death
    Rankly abused: but know, thou noble youth,
    The serpent that did sting thy father's life
    Now wears his crown.

(Act I, Scene V, 31-39)

In these lines, the ghost of King Hamlet told his son that he was murdered by his own brother, Claudius. Claudius killed him by pouring poison in his ear, then went on to seduce his wife, Gertrude, and married her, thus becoming King. The ghost here put the task of avenging his death on Hamlet’s shoulders and instead of running away; Hamlet accepted this task because he knew it was the right thing to do for the sake of his father. Claudius acted immorally and Hamlet must fix the treason that is the King of Denmark. Claudius admitted his evil deeds in prayer:

I stand in pause where I shall first begin,

 And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
  Were thicker than itself with brother's blood,
   Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
   To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
   But to confront the visage of offence?
   And what's in prayer but this two-fold force,
   To be forestalled ere we come to fall,
   Or pardon'd being down? Then I'll look up;
   My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
   Can serve my turn? "Forgive me my foul murder"?
   That cannot be; since I am still possess'd
   Of those effects for which I did the murder,
  My crown, mine own ambition and my queen.
   May one be pardon'd and retain th' offence?

(Act III, Scene III, 42-56)

Here we see Claudius, very shaken after seeing the play that Hamlet produced, portraying Claudius killing Hamlet’s father. Claudius was praying to God for forgiveness in the aftermath of his murder. This showed that Claudius knew and feared the consequences of his action. Here we finally knew that the reason behind Hamlet’s quest is right and just. Claudius admitting to all those things made Hamlet’s cause for vengeance much more righteous as Claudius committed these treasonous acts for the betterment of himself and his position in life, instead of thinking about the country of Denmark first and foremost. Also, Hamlet knew that killing Claudius still would not bring his father back; it would only make him a murderer also, bringing him down to Claudius’ level. Hamlet’s trait of being a hero is shown here, as he is doing the right thing, even if he is the only person who believed in it.

The memory of Hamlet as the title character should live on in the reader’s minds as that of a tragic hero. Hamlet literally sacrificed life and limb for his father’s unrighteous murder and along the way; he gave up on his sanity and the most important thing in life, love. In spite of the undue hardships that life had metered out to him, Hamlet never lowered himself to villains’ standards; rather, in true heroic style he weighted out right from wrong and followed his conscience. In trying to adhere to society’s ideas of right over wrong, Hamlet’s choices were never easy. The lives of heroes never are, but no one ever said a hero’s life was meant to be easy, they only said to martyr oneself for one’s cause would cement one in hero status forever.


Good topic sentences and elaboration. This essay does everything an essay needs to do. Congratulations!


Level 1


Level 2


Level 3


Level 4




Displays little insight into the topic and supporting arguments.

Stance is absent or invalid.

Provides little evidence to support stance.

Little attempt is made at detailed, coherent, logical argument.

Displays some insight into the topic and supporting arguments.

A stance is evident.

Provides some evidence to support stance.

Argument is presented with some detail and coherence.

An attempt is made at logical argument.

Displays good insight into the topic and supporting arguments.

A clear and valid stance is evident.

Provides strong evidence to support stance.

Argument is mostly logical, detailed, and coherent.

Displays great insight into the topic and supporting arguments.

A clear and valid stance is evident.

Provides strongest evidence to support stance.

Argument is consistently logical, detailed, and coherent.



Displays little use of elements of structure: some components of thesis present; some attempt at structuring paragraphs; lacks conclusion.

Displays some use of elements of structure: some components of thesis evident; some components of body paragraphs evident; some attempt at a proper conclusion.

Displays effective use of elements of structure: four-component thesis, body paragraphs effectively structured with topic sentence, introduction to fact, quotations from text, elaboration, closing sentence; effective conclusion paragraph.

Displays mastery of the elements of structure: four-component thesis, body paragraphs masterfully structured with topic sentence, introduction to fact, quotations from text, elaboration, closing sentence; insightful conclusion paragraph.



Displays little understanding of the standards of conventional Canadian English.

Errors interfere with reader comprehension.

Little attempt at citing sources.

Displays some attempt at use of conventional Canadian English.

Frequent errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Errors interfere with reader comprehension.

Displays some attempt at citing sources.

Displays mostly fluent use of conventional Canadian English.

Few errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Sources are cited properly, using standard format.

Displays fluent, error-free use of conventional Canadian English.

Sources are cited properly, using standard format.

The database is protected by copyright © 2016
send message

    Main page