Analysis of the Character Hamlet in William Shakespeare's Hamlet, The Prince of Denmark


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Analysis of the Character Hamlet in William Shakespeare's Hamlet, The Prince of Denmark

First performed in 1603, Hamlet, The Prince of Denmark is probably the best

known of William Shakespeare's works, and may well be the most famous English

language play ever written. The character, Hamlet, is one of the most compelling

characters to ever emerge from the pages of English literature. Hamlet has been the

center of admiring critical commentaries. It has also developed a reputation as a difficult

work to analyze. Hamlet features a very complicated character, with many complex

themes, and presents the reader with a multi-layered text, which defies easy reading.

He has been subjected to numerous interpretations and studies over the centuries,

his actions and thoughts analyzed again and again. Probably more than anything else is

the reason for Hamlet's charismatic appeal. In the first scene Hamlets father, the king,

dies mysteriously just two months prior. Claudius, has taken the throne and has married

the dead king's wife, Queen Gertrude. The members of the watch, including Prince

Hamlet's loyal friend Horatio, are alarmed over the recent appearance of a ghost who

resembles Hamlet's late father, and they plan to tell Hamlet about this eerie visitations.

The Ghost of Hamlet's father speaks to his son directly and urges him to follow

him to a one-on-one encounter. There he explains in detail of his horrid death and tells

Hamlet that this heinous crime must be avenged and that it is up to his son to justify this

by killing Claudius.

“I am thy father's spirit;
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confin'd to wastein fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purg'd away.” Hamlet (Act I, Sc. V)

Hamlet has trouble depicting truth from fantasy in this scene, whether or not to believe

the ghost who assumes the form of his deceased father. The death of his father leads

Hamlet down the road to insanity. With his mother marrying his uncle only a month after

King Hamlets death, makes the road a one way street.

To confirm the truth Hamlet puts on a play, inspired by his father’s unfortunate, to

get an reaction from his Uncle. After witnessing his Uncle’s expression towards the play

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he knows the ghost was speaking the truth all along. Understanding the dialog was indeed

troublesome, but with some time and patience Shakespeare is readable. Many of the

characters, such as Ophelia, are odd to get a handle of. What made Ophelia kill herself is

beyond my comprehension.

As a reader, you can come to any number of reasonable conclusions about

Hamlet, but coming to a firm stop about this complex character is a difficult task. What I

have taken out of this story, is, What you do now will come back to haunt you in another

form.


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