Alfred Prufrock”, and “Agamemnon” is hamartia. Attempt has been made to analyse the main characters’ personality traits and provide the reader with specific examples that help to clarify how hamartia is present in each of the three plays. In order to analyse all the three characters’ personalities and their roles in the plays, it would be best to know first what hamartia means to further connect them with this element. By definition, hamartia is a flaw in the hero’s personality that allows them to commit certain tragic or fatal mistakes.
To better understand the significance of hamartia in the plays, a thorough understanding of each character’s personality flaws as well as how they respond to the circumstances is just as important. The central characters of these plays include Prince Hamlet in “Hamlet”, Alfred Prufrock in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, and Agamemnon in “Agamemnon”. We will understand how hamartia ties the plots together; analyses and compares Hamlet, Prufrock, and Agamemnon’s roles in each of the plays; and evaluates how their personalities affect the outcome of their lives. Opening sentence:
There are numerous examples of how the characters in the above-mentioned plays fail to demonstrate the ability to succeed, and thus, commit tragic mistakes that will doom them to their tragic ends. Paragraph 1: Detail 1: To begin with, Prince Hamlet in “Hamlet” is considered to be a scholar, a thinker, and the kind of person who would not act without thoroughly analysing the circumstances. Hamlet’s flaws as a central character become evident when the intrigue begins to take shape. The intrigue in “Hamlet” shows Hamlet’s father coming to him, as a ghost, and pleads revenge for his death.
Hamlet becomes aware that his uncle, Claudius, murdered his father in order to marry his mother, Gertrude, and deprive him of his thrown. It dawns on Hamlet that this treachery must be avenged. Hamlet will be consumed by the idea of confronting his uncle in order to restore his and his father’s honour. Detail 2: However, Hamlet, as a man who puts reason above all else, hesitates whether killing a man to avenge another man’s death is the right thing to do. At this point, Hamlet’s personality is taking shape; he finds himself hesitant and incapable of deciding what course of action to take.
During the play, he repeatedly projects himself as an indecisive character, one that fails to contain his emotions and overthinks everything to the point of madness. He constantly reflects upon his situation; however, he accomplishes nothing towards his initial goal of avenging his father. Hamlet’s failed attempts to kill Claudius and avenge his father take an emotional toll on him, and he begins to pressure himself and judge his own character as a man. Hamlet’s opinion of himself becomes negatively affected by his failures, and he is overwhelmed by feelings of regret and self-pity.
Detail 3: At this point in the play, his rational mind and emotional stability appear to be compromised, and his self-judgment and introspection worsen, as he fails to control himself and the events happening around him. Hamlet allows his uncle to take decisive moves, which threaten him and the ones he loves. His emotional instability provokes a chain reaction of fatal and tragic mistakes, one after the other, as he cannot manage to control his emotions. Accidentally, he kills Ophelia’s father. Furthermore, Hamlet’s mother is murdered and Ophelia commits suicide.
However, Hamlet, in the end, manages to accomplish his goal of killing Claudius, but this comes with a price. Analysing the character of Hamlet, one concludes that all this could have been easily prevented if he had been less cautious and less afraid of taking any decisive actions. If Hamlet had not self-destructed, he would most probably have succeeded in his task. Ultimately, his inaction and inability to control his circumstances turned out to be his and his loved ones’ downfall. Paragraph2: Detail 1: Although Hamlet and Prufrock in “The Love Song of J.
Alfred Prufrock” are confronted with completely different situations, these two characters prove they are possessed of similar personality traits. Just like Hamlet, Prufrock is an emotional, over-analytical and indecisive character. Detail 2: As can be deduced from the poem, Prufrock spends all of his time pondering how to behave, and to act in society, as he wants to become a man of action. Prufrock imagines himself achieving great things for himself and having everything he desires. Nonetheless, he cannot find a way to realize his wishes.
Prufrock is well aware of his tragedy, and he makes sure the audience understands that he is a flawed man full of fears, whims and self-fancies. Again, just as we find in Hamlet’s character, Prufrock’s personality makes him cautious of acting towards any goal he might have, and his over-analytic persona makes him incapable of taking control of any situation. Prufrock explains his problems through a simple example from one of his failures. He recounts that he was incapable of asking a girl to date him, and despite his loving for her, he did nothing to make his love count.
Detail 3: Prufrock’s situation is not as tragic as Hamlet’s, yet it is easy to understand why Prufrock’s character shares similar tragic flaws with Hamlet’s. There is an extreme sense of introspection and self-loath throughout the poem, which indicates failures or inability to succeed. Prufrock is conscience of his situation, and he demonstrates a feel of disregard for his own life, as he was unworthy to be alive. Just as Hamlet ponders suicide, Prufrock compares himself to the smallest creatures and animals, demonstrating tremendous introspection and self-loathing.
Dismayed by age, Prufrock regrets not having acted towards his goals, and, in the end, without anything to show for his life, he isolates himself from society, embarrassed and ashamed. Prufrock is emotionally too unstable to overcome his situation. Therefore, he becomes indecisive, hesitant, and frustrated with himself. The flaw of Prufrock’s personality is his inability to act. Consequently, he waited until the very end, only to look back at his life and realize that his inability to act became the sole reason for his failures. Paragraph 3: Detail 1: Agamemnon, when it comes to action, is not like Hamlet or Prufrock.
He is considered to be a very accomplished character, with enormous power and social position. Agamemnon is a king to his people, a husband, and a father. The chorus describes him as a great and courageous warrior, the one who destroyed the mighty army and city of Troy. However, Agamemnon is a deeply flawed character; one of his greatest flaws is his inability to act accordingly to the responsibilities of a king, a husband and a father. Agamemnon’s flaw, is not his inability to act, but to act without succumbing to his own desires and emotions. Detail 2: There are some similarities
Agamemnon, Hamlet, and Prufrock share in common, controlling their emotion, inability to succeed, and surpassing their own personal pressures. Detail 3: Agamemnon, has a difficult time accepting the responsibilities of his position as King while being incapable of making the most obvious choices as a husband and a father. When Agamemnon makes his victorious return from Troy, he proudly parades Cassandra, his mistress, before his wife and the chorus. He is seen as a man who is extremely arrogant and disrespectful to his wife. As a husband, he fails since he has no self-control.
Clytemnestra, his wife, was once raped and kidnapped by Agamemnon; however, he still disrespects her without any sense of justice. As a father, Agamemnon is also flawed as he decides to sacrifice his own daughter just to gain favourable winds to navigate his fleet into Troy. Despite Agamemnon’s accomplishments in saving his country from war, one cannot ignore such crucial problems in his character. It becomes clear to the audience that Agamemnon does not feel love, remorse or regret, and that he is incapable of performing as a decent husband and parent.
Another personality failure is his inability to adhere to his principles and control his desires. Initially, he refuses to walk the carpet Clytemnestra made for him, as he does not want to be hailed as a god, but he succumbs to his wife’s incentives and, eventually, ignores his principles. Agamemnon ultimately does make use of this carpet, illustrating his ambition, pride, and contempt for the norms and values of his society. Agamemnon could not handle the pressures of being a king, a husband and a father; and thus, after committing several severe mistakes, his wife took his life as vengeance for all his wrongful actions.
Conclusion: In conclusion, we reach the understanding that these three characters in “Hamlet”, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”’ and “Agamemnon” did not succeed owing to their very own flawed personalities and tragic mistakes. If one translated hamartia as a tragic flaw in the hero’s personality that allows for a tragic mistake that ultimately leads the hero to fail, one can better understand how these three plays connect in addition to the similarities that all these characters have.
After analysing the three characters, one reaches the conclusion that the main characters serve as examples of what happens when one is incapable of responding appropriately to the circumstances of their life. These three characters were ultimately destined to fail as their tragic flaws were so intrinsic to their characters that they could neither change their ways nor their destinies.