Hamlet as a Tragic Hero

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark


Hamlet Tragic Hero

Example



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Activity Overview


Hamlet is full of important literary elements for students to explore. One of these elements is the tragic hero, a protagonist who seems to be ill-fated, and destined for doom. In this play, Hamlet is the tragic hero as he leads himself and many others to their ruin and deaths.

The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, was the articulated the specific attributes or principles of a tragic hero. For the storyboard above, students can use a template to storyboard the qualities that make Hamlet, a tragic hero. The finished product outlines each of Aristotle's principles with a detailed explanation of the specific attributes.

Hamlet - Tragic Hero

ATTRIBUTEDESCRIPTIONExample from Hamlet
HamartiaFlaw in the Character Hamlet’s repeated indecision prevents him from immediately killing Claudius, indirectly causing every other death in the play.
HubrisExcessive Pride Hamlet believes he is clever enough to beat Claudius and Laertes in any challenge. In the fencing match, Laertes takes advantage of this to poison Hamlet with his fencing blade.
PeripeteiaReversal of Fortune Hamlet proves to himself that Claudius is guilty, but now Claudius knows he has to kill Hamlet. His first attempt, with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, fails, but he then arranges the fencing match between Hamlet and Laertes.
AnagnorisisA Moment of Critical Discovery There are several moments of Anagnorisis in Hamlet. The whole play is set in motion when the Ghost of King Hamlet tells the prince that it is Claudius who has killed him.
NemesisFate that Cannot be Avoided Hamlet's failure to act immediately leads the duel between Hamlet and Laertes, where both men are poisoned and die.
CatharsisAudience's Feeling of Pity or Fear After the Hero's Fall With the Danish royal family dead, only Horatio is left to tell the story, while the King of Norway claims the crown of Denmark.


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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows how Hamlet can be considered a tragic hero.


  1. Identify events of the play or characteristics of Hamlet that fit into Aristotelian attributes of a tragic hero.
  2. Illustrate examples for Hamartia, Hubris, Peripeteia, Anagnorisis, Nemesis, and Catharsis.
  3. Write a short description below each cell that specifically relates Hamlet as a tragic hero.
  4. Save and submit the assignment.

Tragic Hero Template Blank

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