Character of Hamlet

Powerful Essays
Character of Hamlet

"Wer gar zu viel bedenkt wird wenig leisten"


" He who reflects too much will accomplish little"

It is impossible to attain completeness in the assessment of any one's

character and more so in the case of Hamlet's, for its note are

complex and mysterious. But on rigorous study, Hamlet's character can

be described though partly but adequately by the above quote.

'Hamlet' is the most famous, the most popular play in the English

language. But to quote T.S.Eliot -"So far from being Shakespeare's

masterpiece, the play is most certainly an artistic failure…. And

probably more people have thought Hamlet a work of art because they

found it interesting, than have found it interesting because it is a

work of art. It is the "Mona Lisa " of literature."

"The grounds of Hamlet's failure are not immediately

obvious."T.S.Eliot in his essay "Hamlet and His Problems", says this

and after his analysis he concludes that in order to understand Hamlet

- the play and the character - we need to understand things, which

Shakespeare did not understand himself. A similar view is aired by

A.C.Bradley who says that the character of Hamlet as one can

understand from the play cannot answer several questions which pertain

to the logic and rationality of Hamlet's deeds like his idea to

pretend madness and in order to get a reasonable answer one must try

history where we find the story of Amleth,the Prince of Denmark which

inspired Shakespeare to write this "Mona Lisa " of literature.

The story of Amleth is a story, which involved just the revenge of a

son avenging his father's murder. In this story, Amleth 's uncle...

... middle of paper ...

...ths may be, by some means

can be held as a retributive justice against them for their own deeds.

Except the deaths of king Claudius and 'his' Queen ,all the rest

happen due to their involvement with the king. These deaths could have

been avoided.But,once the death casts a shadow on someone," the rest

is silence".

Note: The actual age of Hamlet is in question due to evidences based

on various grounds. In my opinion the knowledge of Hamlet's age can

help in understanding his complex character to perfection.


1.Tales from Shakespeare - Charles and Mary Lamb

2. Hamlet - Commentary by A.W.Verity (A.W.V)

3. "Hamlet and His Problems" - Essay by T.S.Eliot

4. A.C.Bradley's work on Hamlet

5. F.C.Hunt's work on Hamlet referring to Bacon's life

6. A Book of Quotations

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