Hamlet has often been defined as an “anti-hero” because his words and actions harm those around him. He denounces Ophelia while he claims both to have loved her and never loved her at all (Act III, scene i and again in Act III, scene ii). He uses similar language in his angry confrontation with Queen Gertrude, causing her to call out to Polonius in fear for her life.
These painful confrontations seem separate from Hamlet’s indecision over whether to believe the ghost’s account of King Hamlet’s death at the hands of King Claudius. Hamlet’s conversation with his mother occurs after he seemingly has evidence of King Claudius’ guilt through his reaction to the play. Hamlet apparently has all the evidence that he needs to act at this point, yet he does not.
The question of whether Hamlet is a hero or anti-hero is up to you in this discussion forum.
Watch the short ten-minute video, Hamlet’s Journey, [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsab-KuUMuQ ] [06 min 47 sec] produced by the Folger Shakespeare Library. It opens with the scene where Hamlet encounters the ghost of old King Hamlet and continues with a discussion of the play, particularly, Hamlet himself.
As you are viewing the production, please pay particular attention to the section where Michele Osherow briefly summarizes the debate over whether Hamlet can be characterized as a heroic figure. Interestingly, she defines Hamlet as a hero because of his reluctance to kill.
In your initial discussion post of using 300-500 words, identify at least FIVE (5) adjectives or phrases that you would use to describe a hero or heroic action. Based upon your own definition and examples (including quotations) from Hamlet,Act III, is Hamlet a hero in your eyes?