Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet has one outstanding character, namely the protagonist Hamlet. His character is so complex that this essay will scarcely present an adequate portrayal of his character.
John Russell Brown in “Soliloquies and Other Wordplay Let the Audience Share Some of Hamlet’s Thoughts” explains the interplay of dialogue, soliloquies and narrative in Hamlet’s role:
By any reckoning Hamlet is one of the most complex of Shakespeare’s characters, and a series of soliloquies is only one of the means which encourage the audience to enter imaginatively into his very personal and frightening predicament. The play’s narrative is handled so that a prolonged two-way chase is sustained between him and the king, during which the audience knows more than either one of them and so thinks ahead and anticipates events. In interplay with Rosencrantz, Guildenstern and Polonius, and perhaps with Claudius, Gertrude and Ophelia, Hamlet has asides to draw attention to what dialogue cannot express(55-56).
Marchette Chute 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...
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...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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