Fate and Fatal Mistakes in Hamlet

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About this sample


Words: 688 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Nov 22, 2018

Words: 688|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Nov 22, 2018

Shakespeare’s Hamlet depicts theme such as fate, deceit and procrastination through many characters such as Claudius, Hamlet and Ophelia. However, it is Hamlet who really gives significance to the plot and to the major themes which will be discussed in this essay.

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In fact, one perspective of the seeing the play is placing Hamlet as someone who had no control over the events happening in his life. He finds himself completely shattered at the death of his father. Worse, is that his father was murdered by his own uncle, Claudius and to crown it all, Hamlet’s mother re-marries Claudius. He is himself confused and the audience feels how the re-marriage of his mother affected him when he refers to Claudius and Gertrude as ‘’uncle-father’’ and ‘’aunt-mother’’ respectively.

These sudden changes in his life shaped his thoughts and feelings and have instigated him to take revenge upon Claudius as well as have created a feeling of hatred towards his mother. This might resume to Hamlet’s own words: ‘’There’s a divinity that shapes our ends’’.

This sheds light to the statement ‘’character is destiny’’. The play can be said to be the journey through which Hamlet discovers that his intellectual view of life failed in front of the power which fate holds. The Wheel of Fortune is what shapes the life of people. He even says: ‘’How all occasions do inform against me’’.

Hamlet, too, acknowledges that he is a victim of his circumstances. His actions will not save him from the hands of destiny, not even Shakespeare could save his character from suffering his fate. Shakespeare, like the Greeks, believed their life to be ‘’their own destiny beyond the gods’’. The force of fate is so powerful in the play that it targets the other characters as well, not only the protagonist. In fact, the helplessness of human beings in front of fate is shown through the words of the First player:

‘’Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune! All you gods,

In general synod, take away her power;

Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,

And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven,

As low as to the fiends’’

Finally, this technique is used by Shakespeare to portray that nobody escapes fate.

Characters in this play constantly face difficulty in finding the truth about others, whether that be their intentions, their true characters, or even their sanity. Shakespeare expresses in the play how protagonists are the makers of their own fate and self-destruction. Humans who are ruled by obsessive behaviour will only act rashly and cause their own demise. In the play, Hamlet deceives everyone in the play including himself. He deceives himself into thinking that what he is doing is warranted and that his uncle must burn in hell for his actions, and this is why he hides behind his fake insanity. Since the beginning of the play, there are hints that Hamlet is suicidal. He isolates himself from everyone thus creating a void in his life making himself feel empty, lonely and that he has no self-worth. Furthermore, he is angry about his father's death and young adults tend to look for escapes when they become angry with things. The quote "O, that this too too solid flesh would melt" said in act 1 scene 2 is great in expressing how Hamlet feels even at the beginning of the play. Hamlet wishes he could just dissolve into a dew, and he could cease to exist, he wishes he could leave all the problems of living behind him. However, since his body is unlikely to turn into a dew, the next option would be to end is o life through suicide.

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To conclude, Hamlet is unique among all the tragedies of Shakespeare. Hamlet's tragic flaw indeed made him to commit the fatal mistake of procrastinating which lead to his downfall and this affected the life of the other characters as well to provide such a depressing end for the audience. Unlike Coriolanus whose tragic flaw, pride, led to his downfall only, the fatal mistake of Hamlet gives way to the fate of the other characters as well.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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How William Shakespeare Uses The Character Of Hamlet To Develop The Plot And Themes? (2023, January 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 28, 2024, from
“How William Shakespeare Uses The Character Of Hamlet To Develop The Plot And Themes?” GradesFixer, 05 Jan. 2023,
How William Shakespeare Uses The Character Of Hamlet To Develop The Plot And Themes? [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 Feb. 2024].
How William Shakespeare Uses The Character Of Hamlet To Develop The Plot And Themes? [Internet] GradesFixer. 2023 Jan 05 [cited 2024 Feb 28]. Available from:
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