Hamlet and Agamemnon: the comparison of two tragic heroes

Hamlet and Agamemnon are two classic plays that both include common elements of Greek tragedy such as hubris, hamartia, peripeteia, anagnorisis, catharsis, and nemesis.  The protagonists in both stories are characters of high status that suffer an inevitable downfall caused by their own character flaws and a fatal error of judgment. However, I believe Hamlet is a more tragic figure than Agamemnon.

Although both their misfortunes arouse pity, Hamlet’s story offers the audience a more intimate perspective into his thoughts, feelings, and relationships that encourages a stronger emotional connection and sympathetic response from the audience. Even though both Hamlet and Agamemnon are the protagonists of these plays, Hamlet seems to play a more integral role. Agamemnon is still a central figure, but there is a significantly heavier focus on other secondary characters such as his wife, Clytemnestra, who is arguably the main character of the story. As a result, Hamlet’s character development is much more substantial and we perceive him in the play as a whole. He is an emotionally expressive man, whether he feels deep sorrow, grief, anger or elation. We also learn a lot about him through his many dramatic and eloquent soliloquies that examine such definitely intense topics as betrayal and morality. The way he exposes his tortured inner world evokes deep sympathy in the readers and makes him more relatable.

Furthermore, Hamlet is generally a more likeable character because he was basically innocent and didn’t deserve to die at all, on the other hand, Agamemnon was guilty of murdering his own daughter, so we may say that one way or another he deserved to meet such a tragic fate and that it was mostly likely inevitatble. Personally, I perceived Agamemnon in an impersonal manner and was rather neutral towards the outcome of his plight, whereas I was more emotionally invested in Hamlet and genuinely wanted him to prevail.

These two tragic heroes share many commonalities from Aristotles components of a tragedy. However, Hamlet is a greater tragedy because of the humanity in his portrayal. Additionally, Hamlet is the centralized figure of his story, and the audience learns a lot about him through the personal insight he offers and gets a chance to sympathize him. By contrast, the audience has much less insight into Agamemnon’s life and personality because his character is built largely by other characters in the story, who figure just as prominently as he does.

There are great

moral lessons to learn from both tragedies, but Hamlets ability to connect with audiences in a more intimate way by sharing the deepest parts of himself, and the martyr-like nature of his death, makes him the epitome of a tragic hero.