The Character of Hamlet

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The Character of Hamlet This essay will delve into the character of the hero of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet as it develops through the drama, and will analyze the more important features. Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar in “Hamlet: A Man Who Thinks Before He Acts” explain the popularity of the protagonist: Much of the delight of modern readers, of course, comes from the study of the characters of the principal figures in the play, for Shakespeare has presented them in three-dimensional vividness. We feel that they are living beings with problems that are perennially human. If a modern man is not called upon, as Hamlet was, to avenge a murdered father, he nevertheless must face crises in his own life that remind him of Hamlet’s dilemma. . . (62). Marchette Chute in “The Story Told in Hamlet” describes the opening scene of the drama: “For two nights in succession, just as the bell strikes the hour of one, a ghost has appeared on the battlements, a figure dressed in complete armor and with a face like that of the dead king of Denmark, Hamlet’s father. [. . .] The hour comes, and the ghost walks” (35). Horatio and Marcellus exit the ramparts of Elsinore intending to enlist the aid of Hamlet. There is a social gathering of the court, where Claudius pays tribute to the memory of his deceased brother, the former king, and then conducts some items of business. Hamlet is there dressed in black, the color of mourning, for his deceased father. His first words say that Claudius is "A little more than kin and less than kind," indicating a dissimilarity in values between the new king and himself. Hamlet’s first soliloquy emphasizes the frailty of women – an obvious reference to his mother’s has... ... middle of paper ... ...World of Hamlet.” Yale Review. vol. 41 (1952) p. 502-23. Rpt. in Shakespeare: Modern Essays in Criticism. Rev. ed. Ed. Leonard F. Dean. New York: Oxford University P., 1967. Rosenberg, Marvin. “Laertes: An Impulsive but Earnest Young Aristocrat.” Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. from The Masks of Hamlet. Newark, NJ: Univ. of Delaware P., 1992. Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1995. http://www.chemicool.com/Shakespeare/hamlet/full.html No line nos. Wright, Louis B. and Virginia A. LaMar. “Hamlet: A Man Who Thinks Before He Acts.” Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. from The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Ed. Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar. N. p.: Pocket Books, 1958.

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