Antiheroism has always been an interesting aspect of a character that
authors have chosen to illustrate. In literature, there has been countless
antiheroic characters, from Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's
Nest and Allie Fox in The Mosquito Coast, to others as famous as Robin Hood
and ... By literary definition, an antihero is the "hero" of the play or
novel, but has negative attributes which 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 main factor which gives Hamlet such a label is that he draws
sympathy, as well as admiration, from the reader since Hamlet feels the
pain of losing his father along with the burden and obstacles in avenging
Act four places a special emphasis on Hamlet's intelligence. In scene
two, Hamlet is very insolent and rude towards Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
with such phrases as,
That I can keep your counsel and not, mine own. Beside, to be
demanded of a sponge, what replication should be made by the son of a
king? (IV, ii, 12-14)
The reference to the sponge reflects the fact that Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern are easily ordered by the king and do not have minds of their
own. Hamlet does not like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern since they are
servants of the Claudius, Hamlet's mortal enemy. The reader does not like
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern either which causes the reader to side with
Another incident of Hamlet's high intelligence is shown when he Hamlet
tells Rosencrantz and Guildenstern,
I am glad of it: a knavish sleeps in a foolish ear. (IV, ii,
This statement leaves Rosencrantz and Guildenstern more or less confused.
Hamlet is clearly more clever than the two of them combined and is able to
toy with them.Hamlet has an excellent command of the language and because
of it, can use words to the point that those around him will not understand
and may label him as crazy.
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 ange
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