Hamlet as Antihero
By literary definition, an antihero is the "hero" of the play or novel, but has negative attributes that separate him or her from the classic hero such as Superman. Such negative aspects may include a violent nature, use of coarse language, or self-serving interests which may inadvertently depict the protagonist as a hero since the result of serving those interests may be the betterment of society or an environment. In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, the protagonist, Hamlet, is depicted as an antihero.
One factor contributing to Hamlet’s status as antihero is that he draws sympathy, as well as admiration, from the reader since Hamlet feels the pain of ...view middle of the document...
Hamlet shows another example of his cleverness, this time towards Claudius, when he says, "I see a cherub that sees them. But, come; for England! Farewell, dear mother" (IV, iii, 49-50). The cherub, or the angel, gives Hamlet a sense of superiority over Claudius. Having an angel at one's side would be a definite sign of power, which is exactly what Hamlet tries to maintain over Claudius in their constant power struggle. Just when Claudius thinks he controls Hamlet, it is really Hamlet who has the upper hand over Claudius.
There are very strong philosophical references made by Hamlet in this act regarding life and death. Hamlet tells Claudius,
Your worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots: your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service, two dishes, but to one table: that's the end. (IV, iii, 21-26)
This statement id a reference to the food chain, and in turn, a reflection on the meaning of life. It illustrates the equality of men in that whether one is born to be a king or a beggar, when one dies, we are all equal. Worms and maggots do not treat anybody differently once one is dead and buried.
The final scene draws the greatest sympathy towards Hamlet even though he is not even in the scene. The forces of Claudius and Laertes have combined against Hamlet. Claudius states,
To an exploit now ripe in my device, Under the which he shall not choose but fall, And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe; But even his mother shall unchange the practice, And call...