In my opinion, Hamlet was more tragic a play than Agamemnon. As the audience, I felt more inclined to sympathize with Hamlet due to his many sad soliloquies and series of events leading to his downfalls. This is because there was far more to learn about the specific defeats of Hamlet, there were far more disturbance and unrest following the events after his father died, and I felt more pity for the main character in Hamlet as opposed to Agamemnon.
The events surrounding Hamlet’s life are far more explored than those in Agamemnon. Though we learn that Agamemnon’s family members are traitors, Hamlet’s family members have sadder, more twisted intentions that we learn about in more detail. We don’t know that Agamemnon was a generally ‘good’ person because we do not delve into his personality the way we do with Hamlet. It is clear that Hamlet was indeed a ‘good’ person who had love for his father. The surrounding events where Claudius, his uncle, kills Hamlet’s father for power and his mother marries Claudius were alone enough to watch our protagonist’s quick and sudden downfall commence. As any ‘good’ person would, Hamlet’s responses to these events surrounding his life were painful, mad, and full of self-doubt.
Hamlet, being the main character of this play, developed into a complex personality full of problems, insecurity, self-doubt and procrastination. All of these characteristics are problems that most of us deal with on a daily basis. His internal conflicts lead to him philosophizing about life, death, and even suicide. This was difficult to watch/read as it lead to wondering who deserves such bad things to happen to them? His negative thoughts evoked pity and fear in the audience, which is one of Aristotle’s main definitions of a tragedy. In addition, Agamemnon was not even the main character or protagonist of the play, whereas Hamlet was.
The events surrounding Hamlet’s life after his father was killed started unfolding before the audience’s eyes. Once King Hamlet deceased, Marcellus says to Horatio, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” (Act I, Scene IV). This line early on in the play is foreshadowing to the brutal state of unrest soon to surround Hamlet’s life, family, and state.
Courtney from Study Moose
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