An analysis of hamlet on the poetics of aristotle

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. C and to this day it impacts the way literature is written. In Hamlet Shakespeare has chosen to base his play on the six rules to a tragic hero set by Aristotle, the function of the play, and the purpose of a tragedy. When we look at Hamlet he is in fact a person of high status, he is the son of the previous king, and is still in line for the royal throne of Denmark.

An analysis of hamlet on the poetics of aristotle

In Aristotle's opinion, plot is the most important aspect of the tragedy and all other parts such as character, diction, and thought stem from the plot. Aristotle defines a tragedy as " Shakespeare's Hamlet follows this definition for the most part, and even though it is not always in agreement with Aristotle's guidelines, it is still a great and effective tragedy.

Aristotle states that tragedy is "an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude" p. Hamlet is an excellent example of this. The play centers around Hamlet's quest to avenge his father's death; this is a serious action.

It is also complete in the sense that all the loose ends are tied together in a sensible, believable manner. Hamlet is able to avenge his father's death by killing his uncle. Shakespeare also follows Aristotle's idea of the tragedy as it is of a certain magnitude.

The characters are supposed to be the most perfect people to whom the audience can still relate. Hamlet is a wealthy prince, however he deals with the same problems as the common man. He is confused, paranoid, and angered about the circumstances surrounding his father's death.

He is also unsure of himself and does not know how he should handle the situation. The audience can relate to this uncertain feeling and they are able to empathize with Hamlet. Aristotle believes that in order for a tragedy to be effective, it must convey pity and fear.

He defines pity as a feeling that is aroused by "unmerited misfortune" p. Hamlet undoubtedly suffers this unmerited misfortune. He has done nothing to bring about his father's death. To make the situation even more painful, his mother has married his uncle whom he suspects is responsible for the tragedy.

These circumstances illicit pity from the audience. The fear of impending evil is also prevalent in the play. As the plot progresses, it becomes clear that the king is plotting to kill Hamlet and Hamlet is planning to kill the king. Hamlet's plot is what Aristotle considers complex.

An analysis of hamlet on the poetics of aristotle

It is accompanied by Recognition, which is "a change from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate between the persons destined by the poet for good or bad fortune" p.

The Recognition occurs when the play within the play is staged for the king. The play is a reenactment of what Hamlet believes happened to his father. His uncle is so upset and flustered by the play that he runs from the room. This action indicates to Hamlet that his suspicions were correct and his uncle is indeed responsible for King Hamlet's death.

Hamlet later finds the king in a church praying and is tempted to kill him there, but decides against it because he will go to heaven since he is praying. From this, the audience is able to infer that Hamlet will attempt to kill his uncle later in the play.

Aristotle also stresses that diction is important to make the tragedy believable. Shakespeare utilizes diction perfectly and everything his characters say is appropriate for them to be saying. For instance, the king speaks like a king; he always dodges like a true politician.

There is an obvious and necessary difference between the way he speaks and the way the gravediggers speak. The gravediggers are common men and therefore, speak as thought they are common men. There are some aspects of Poetics that Shakespeare does not follow. For instance, Aristotle states that in a great tragedy, there should be unity of time, place, and action.

By this he means that the action of the play should take place in the amount of time it takes to perform it.

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It should occur in one setting, and there should be one main plot or action. Shakespeare breaks all these rules. The play spans over a significant period of time and the action occurs in various settings ranging from the palace to a plain in Denmark.

Finally, there are several plots taking place simultaneously. For instance, as Hamlet is struggling with the death of his father, Ophelia is going insane because Hamlet is not returning her love or showing any interest in her.Aristotle would not approve of all the subplots that occur within this play.

Shakespeares Hamlet is a great and effective tragedy which follows most of the guidelines set by Aristotle in Poetics. There are some aspects of Poetics that Shakespeare does not include or follow, however the play still effects the audience in the desired manner.

Aristotle also suggests that a tragedy should have the power to provoke audience’s emotion of pity and fear. The suffering and behavior of each character in Hamlet possess that power. The author agrees with the Aristotelian analysis of Hamlet, the story of Hamlet was perfectly based on Aristotle’s tragedy theory.

Poetics was written in B. C and to this day it impacts the way literature is written. Even when analyzing the works of one of the most famous authors to exist, Shakespeare, we see that his work also meets the guidelines of literature set by Aristotle’s Poetics.

Home:Hamlet Analyzed In Terms Of Aristotle's Poetics, Free Study Guides and book notes including comprehensive chapter analysis, complete summary analysis, author biography information, character profiles, theme analysis, metaphor analysis, and top ten quotes on classic literature.

Aristotle also suggests that a tragedy should have the power to provoke audience’s emotion of pity and fear. The suffering and behavior of each character in Hamlet possess that power. The author agrees with the Aristotelian analysis of Hamlet, the story of Hamlet was perfectly based on Aristotle’s tragedy theory.

Home:Hamlet Analyzed In Terms Of Aristotle's Poetics, Free Study Guides and book notes including comprehensive chapter analysis, complete summary analysis, author biography information, character profiles, theme analysis, metaphor analysis, and top ten quotes on classic literature.

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