In a Shakespearian tragedy, the audience witnesses the protagonist deal with a dilemma and hardship. He makes decisions ultimately resulting in a resolution rampant with death. The resolution rights the wrongs made by the main character and other characters, as well, and is the price which must be paid by the protagonist for his flaw in character. The protagonist must feel loss and suffering and realize he is in part responsible because of his character flaw for all that has happened around him. Such is the case with the tragic protagonist in Shakespeare’s Hamlet . Hamlet endures the death of his father, the unwanted and too sudden marriage of his mother to his uncle, the damning responsibility to avenge his father’s killing, the loss of his love, and the realization of the dysfunction and dishonestly within his family and himself. After being sent away to die, yet escaping his own death and returning home, Hamlet returns a man who eventually understands, after an encounter at a graveyard, the reality of death and the necessity of it in order to rid Denmark of the disease he now recognizes within himself and those around him. In the resolution of the play, Act V, Hamlet’s original goal is met, but the cost to fulfill his duty to avenge his father’s murder is great. By the end of Act V, all those who Hamlet believes are a part of the sickness, as well as the woman he loves but wrongly abuses, and he are dead and Denmark is cleansed and ready for the young Fortinbras to rebuild it to its original greatness.
Throughout the story, Hamlet faces many individuals who appear to be what they are not. Hamlet is most disappointed with and disgusted by his mother, Gertrude, when she marries the brother and supposed murderer of Hamlet’s slain father. Unable to deny nor withhold his contempt for her, he shares his feelings of utter disappointment when he tells her she is” the queen, your husband's brother's wife; / and would it were not so! You are my mother” (. 15-16). As a result of his mother’s actions, Hamlet’s view of women has been tainted. His uncontrollable disgust and mistrust of his mother unfortunately transfers to his thoughts and treatment of his love, Ophelia. Hamlet’s realization that women, such as his mother, are manipulative and evil
Back at Elsinore, Hamlet explains to Horatio that he had discovered Claudius's letter with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's belongings and replaced it with a forged copy indicating that his former friends should be killed instead. A foppish courtier, Osric , interrupts the conversation to deliver the fencing challenge to Hamlet. Hamlet, despite Horatio's pleas, accepts it. Hamlet does well at first, leading the match by two hits to none, and Gertrude raises a toast to him using the poisoned glass of wine Claudius had set aside for Hamlet. Claudius tries to stop her, but is too late: she drinks, and Laertes realizes the plot will be revealed. Laertes slashes Hamlet with his poisoned blade. In the ensuing scuffle, they switch weapons and Hamlet wounds Laertes with his own poisoned sword. Gertrude collapses and, claiming she has been poisoned, dies. In his dying moments, Laertes reconciles with Hamlet and reveals Claudius's plan. Hamlet rushes at Claudius and kills him. As the poison takes effect, Hamlet, hearing that Fortinbras is marching through the area, names the Norwegian prince as his successor. Horatio, distraught at the thought of being the last survivor and living whilst Hamlet does not, says he will commit suicide by drinking the dregs of Gertrude's poisoned wine, but Hamlet begs him to live on and tell his story. Hamlet dies in Horatio's arms, proclaiming "the rest is silence". Fortinbras, who was ostensibly marching towards Poland with his army, arrives at the palace, along with an English ambassador bringing news of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's deaths. Horatio promises to recount the full story of what happened, and Fortinbras, seeing the entire Danish royal family dead, takes the crown for himself, and orders a military funeral to honor Hamlet.