Hamlet: Character Analysis

  • Length: 934 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Over the centuries many people have complained that William Shakespeare did an inadequate job of steering the readers of Hamlet to a specific interpretation of each character. Each reader is left to decide the true extent of Hamlet’s evil and insane ways or to realize that he clearly is a victim of circumstances beyond his control, therefore declaring him innocent. Because of William Shakespeare’s writing style, the reader receives little help in discovering who is truly innocent and who is as guilty as Claudius.

Many scholars agree that Hamlet may be the most complex character presented by any playwrite. Over the centuries critics have offered many theories and explanations for Hamlet’s actions, but none have sufficiently explained him. Many people view Hamlet as a deeply troubled youth who caused many unnecessary deaths, such as those of Polonius and Laertes. Critics who support this theory point out the cruel actions carried out by Hamlet, one example being the indifferent and boastful way Hamlet describes the ingenious way he had his two good friend, Rosencrantz and Guildentsern killed.

But wilt thou hear now how I did proceed?…I sat down, devised a new commission, wrote it fair. I once did hold it, as our satists do, a baseness to write fair, labored much how to forget that learning, but, sir, now it did me a yeoman’s service. Wilt thou know th’ effect of what I wrote?…An earnest conjuration from the King, as England was his faithful tributary…that on the view and knowing of the contents, without debatement further more or less, he should those bearers put to sudden death. (Shakespeare 5:228-45)

The way Hamlet treats Ophelia, the woman he supposedly loved, also supports the portrayal of him being a barbarian.

If thou dost marry ,I’ll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery[referring to a brothel], go and quickly, too.(Shakespeare 3:1 136-141)

Another offered interpretation suggests that using the information given by the ghost of King Hamlet, Hamlet seized the opportunity to regain what was rightfully his-the throne of Denmark. One less popular belief that has been expressed states that Hamlet was actually a girl, raised as a man, so there would be an heir to the throne. Critics who support this view say that this theory explains Hamlet’s reluctance and hesitation to commit murder(which is most often viewed as a masculine act).

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Hamlet: Character Analysis." 123HelpMe.com. 24 May 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
Analysis of Ophelia's Character in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay - In the English play Hamlet, Shakespeare incorporates deep analytical thought in his writing by the use of character, symbolism, and motifs. Specifically, readers can find these characteristics through analytical reading of the character Ophelia. While initially reading the story, Ophelia represents a character that is typical of the women in the 1600s, one who is too submissive and directed by the people around her. First impressions of Ophelia's character seem much too simplistic- one that is emotionally governed and trivial, in a sense....   [tags: Hamlet, Shakespeare] 1169 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Analysis of the Character Ophelia on Hamlet Essay - In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia is the most static character in the play. Instead of changing through the course of the play, she remains suffering in the misfortunes perpetrated upon her. She falls into insanity and dies a tragic death. Ophelia has issues surviving without a male influence, and her downfall is when all the men in her life abandon her. Hamlet’s Ophelia, is a tragic, insane character that cannot exist on her own. In Elizabethan times, Ophelia is restricted as a woman. She is obedient to the commands of the men in her life although she often attempts to do the right thing....   [tags: hamlet, william shakespeare, elizabethan times]
:: 5 Works Cited
1284 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Hamlet Character Analysis - William Shakespeare's “Hamlet” is one of the most tragic plays ever written. It is about a young prince trying to keep his word to his dead father by avenging his death. Hamlet procrastinates when avenging his father’s death, which is his tragic flaw. Hamlet appears to be a coward as well as depressed. He finds himself questioning his own ambitious motives such as revenge and hatred toward his murderous uncle. Hamlet tells Horatio, his friend that he is going to fake madness as he loses his determination....   [tags: Hamlet, Shakespeare]
:: 1 Works Cited
1796 words
(5.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Hamlet Character Analysis Essay - Hamlet is one of the most iconic plays that has been studied in depth for over 400 years. With themes of tragedy, love, revenge, family and many more, the play causes a reader to ask questions that can be only answered by Shakespeare. One of these questions is whether Hamlet is truly sane or not throughout the play. Hamlets acting as a different personality over a lengthy period of time eventually leads to his unstable state of mind. Through the progress of the play, his decision-making skills are terribly affected resulting is consequences on himself and others, proving that he is a mad man....   [tags: literary analysis, Shakespeare]
:: 2 Works Cited
971 words
(2.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
"To Be or not To Be:" Hamlet and His Suicidal Tendencies Essay - Thesis: Although most people believe that Hamlet is suicidal at his point in the play, it is not until this soliloquy where the audience actually learns of Hamlet’s ability to judge based on his emotion and logic. Hamlet’s ability to endure suffering allows him to realize how valuable and precious his life truly is. Anti-thesis: To live or not to live, a simple statement, yet full of meaning. It is in this statement where Hamlet proves to the audience that he is truly suicidal. William Shakespeare intended for Hamlet to be a tragic play of a hero: Hamlet....   [tags: Hamlet, Character Analysis, Shakespeare] 1106 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Lethal Procrastination: Hamlet - A question that stumps great minds that are not alike is one that is still a discussion for debate even four hundred years after it arrival. Why does Hamlet delay. Not only did it make a suspenseful and dramatic play that captures the attention of an audience but it also gives away to what kind of character William Shakespeare wants to create for his young tragic hero, Prince Hamlet. This Hamlet is a man who suffers from his own words that “the native hue of resolution / Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,” (III, I, 85-86)....   [tags: character analysis, hamlet, shakespeare]
:: 1 Works Cited
1462 words
(4.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
A Character Analysis of Hamlet Essays - Hamlet fascinates many readers and the first thing to point out about him is that he is mysterious. Shakespeare's work demonstrates Hamlet's dilemma as the role of revenger showing a man of thought forced to be a man of action. Hamlet is extremely philosophical and introspective. He is particularly drawn to difficult questions or questions that cannot be answered with any certainty. Faced with evidence that his uncle murdered his father, Hamlet becomes obsessed with proving his uncle's guilt before trying to act....   [tags: European Literature] 1898 words
(5.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Character Analysis of Claudius from the Play Hamlet by Shakespeare Essay - Character Analysis of Claudius from the Play Hamlet by Shakespeare In the play, "Hamlet", Shakespeare needed to devize an evil character, a villain that is ambitious, and has the ability to scheme to get what he wants. The character would also have to contain some good qualities, such as kindness and contriteness. These good qualities make the character seem more human and thus, more believable. Claudius is this character. Shakespeare uses Claudius in his revenge theme in this play. Without the acts of Claudius, this theme just would not be....   [tags: Hamlet William Shakespeare Plays Essays] 1251 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Analysis of Prince Hamlet's Character in William Shakespeare's Play Essay examples - Analysis of Hamlet in William Shakespeare's Play Shakespeare's Hamlet is at the outset a typical revenge play. However, it is possible to see Prince Hamlet as a more complex character as he can be seen as various combinations of a weak revenger, a tragic hero and a political misfit. In order to fully understand the world in which Hamlet finds himself, it is necessary to examine all three of these roles and either dismiss them or justify Hamlet's behavior as a revenger. As a tragic hero, Hamlet displays many typical qualities of a traditional hero in a Elizabethan revenge tragedy....   [tags: Papers Shakespeare Hamlet] 1577 words
(4.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Hamlet: Character Analysis Essay - Over the centuries many people have complained that William Shakespeare did an inadequate job of steering the readers of Hamlet to a specific interpretation of each character. Each reader is left to decide the true extent of Hamlet’s evil and insane ways or to realize that he clearly is a victim of circumstances beyond his control, therefore declaring him innocent. Because of William Shakespeare’s writing style, the reader receives little help in discovering who is truly innocent and who is as guilty as Claudius....   [tags: essays research papers] 934 words
(2.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches

This is highly unlikely because there is, in fact, no evidence in the play that supports this explanation. All critics do agree that Hamlet is exceptionally intelligent and a sensitive young man, however his actions are left to personal interpretations.

Queen Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, is perceived by most as a loving yet mysterious figure throughout the play. Her innocence is not only questioned by Hamlet in Act 3 scene 4 ("A bloody deed-almost as bad Mother, as to kill a king and marry his brother")but by the readers as well. Many readers believe the final scene, in which Gertrude drinks the poisoned cup, is the clue to determining her guilt or innocence. Perhaps Gertrude drank the poison out of guilt from her role in her first husband’s death. It’s possible that she drank the wine without knowing that is would be fatal. It all depends on how the reader interprets one of the last things Gertrude says in the play, "I will my Lord, I pray you pardon me".

Cladius is often thought of as the villain of the play. Shakespeare portrayed Cladius as a true politician-tactful, manipulative and deceitfully clever. His power over people is demonstrated by his control over Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, whom he sent as spies .

And can you by no drift of conference get from him why he puts on this confusion, grating so harshly all his days of quiet with turbulent and dangerous lunacy?…Good gentlemen, give him a further edge and drive his purpose into these delights.[reply from Rosencrantz: We shall, my lord.] (Shakespeare 3:1 1-28)

Some scholars suggest that we are supposed to view Caldius as being better suited to be king than Hamlet, that is why Cladius does the things he does.

Polonius is viewed as a mixture of good and evil. He is clearly an intelligent man who was influential and well liked in the Danish court. Most critics speculate the Polonius’ intentions were usually good but he had a sinister side as well. His sinister side was demonstrated by his eagerness to obtain a higher political position by any means possible, such as trickery, spying and marrying his only daughter into the Royal family.

Ophelia, walk you here-gracious, so please you, we will bestow ourselves. Read on this book, that show of such an exercise may color your loneliness. We are oft to blame on this-‘tis too much proved-that with devotion’s visage and pious action we do sugar o’er the devil himself…I hear him coming. Let’s withdraw, my lord.(Shakespeare 3:1 43-56)

‘A will come straight. Look you lay home to him. Tell him his pranks have been to broad to bear with, and that Your Grace hath screened and stood between much heat and him. I’ll shroud me even here. Pray you, be round with him.
(Shakespeare 3:4 1-5)

Every character in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, from Hamlet himself to the priest, can be interpreted a number of different ways. There is no right or wrong character analysis. Even the reasons for a character’s actions can be interpreted different ways and tied to a number of the play’s hidden themes.

I used <a href="http://www.folger.edu/">http://www.folger.edu/ to write my essay

Return to 123HelpMe.com