Hamlet: A National Hero?

1862 Words8 Pages
The stage is awash with the aftermath of a fateful battle. A lifeless king rests amid the corpses of his family and followers, slain for his sins. His nephew, Hamlet, has just taken the life of the man who stole King Hamlet’s crown and passes on with the confidence that he has just liberated his nation, Denmark, from an oppressive ruler. Unfortunately, what Hamlet fails to grasp is the amount of incalculable sacrifices that guided him to be able to tear away Claudius’ crown. In actuality, the lack of animosity in Claudius’ character as well as the sheer destruction that resulted from Hamlet’s journey to avenge his father acts as evidence to the poignant truth: Hamlet was responsible for his country’s decay and cannot be considered the…show more content…
Hamlet aspires to resolve his father’s murder with “bloody” action (IV.v.69). For that reason, when Hamlet succeeds in impaling his uncle upon the rapier and forcing him to consume the poisoned elixir, “[Shakespeare] has depicted in [Hamlet] a true national hero” (Crawford). According to this belief, as Hamlet has taken the life of the man that killed King Hamlet and was powerless to stop Denmark from falling to Fortinbras, the Danes have been lifted from danger and the prince Hamlet can be deemed a “savior.” Yet, this victory is short lived when compared to the impairment Hamlet has brought his nation and the amount of lives he has spent in his whirlwind of destruction. Crawford’s idealistic view of Hamlet fails to support itself when weighed against the unfortunate truth—Hamlet cannot be savior of Denmark. This can be seen in the way that Claudius was not the despicable, vulnerable king that Crawford demonstrates in his writings. He was not the tyrannical monarch many perceive him to be throughout the play. “…Claudius is not wholly evil—far from it,” G. Wilson Knight claims. “We see the government of Denmark working smoothly. Claudius shows every sign of being an excellent diplomat and king” (Knight 266). Claudius was entirely capable of settling his conflict with Norway, in contrast to Crawford’s insight, as he simply elected to be peaceful rather than brash as the elder Hamlet had been. This doesn’t make
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