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Hamlet Character Analysis Essay Example

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Hamlet

Hamlet is the son of Old Hamlet who died in power. Hamlet (the son) is one of the main characters in the play. Throughout the play, Hamlet is trying to kill Claudius as a revenge of killing his father (Old Hamlet). Hamlet is a young brilliant man who is good at inventing jokes. Also, his thoughts and emotions are not easily distinguished by the other characters. For example, in act three, the audience is not sure whether Hamlet is in love with Ophelia or intends to revenge against Claudius (MacDonald 41). It seems that throughout the play Hamlet tries to explore his thoughts and emotions without applying them in the real world.

Gertrude

She is the widow of the Old Hamlet and the wife of King Claudius. Note that Claudius killed Old Hamlet, took his wife, and became the Prince of Denmark. Gertrude seems unaware that her current husband, Claudius killed Old Hamlet, her former husband. According to Hamlet, Gertrude is seen as lustful woman who got married to Claudius immediately after her former husband died. Additionally, she loves his son, Hamlet tremendously. However, she is a key character who appears in major scenes, for example when they are plotting to kill Hamlet with her husband in act three (MacDonald 41). She also appears in the scene when Hamlet kills Polonius.

Claudius

He is the uncle to Hamlet, a brother to Old Hamlet and a husband to Gertrude. He is greedy for power because he killed Old Hamlet and seized the throne. He loves earthly pleasures such as drinking, sex, flesh and others. In the middle scenes of the play, we learn that Claudius is guilty of murder and indeed fears to be overthrown from power (MacDonald 38). Claudius ensures that Hamlet does not revenge against him in broad day light. He does this by plotting to kill Hamlet by using other characters such as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; the closest friends of Hamlet.

Ophelia

Ophelia and her brother, Laertes are the children of Polonius. Throughout the play, we can observe that she constantly rejects Hamlet’s quests of love affairs. She is ordered by her father not to fall in love with Hamlet. Ophelia seems to be used by other characters to serve their interests. In fact, she appears to be central focus of all the blames. For example, she is often lectured by her father, mocked by Hamlet and even her brother, Laertes. Claudius and his friends centre Ophelia on stage to spy on Hamlet in act three. However, the attempts to spy on Hamlet eventually fail (MacDonald 41). Then, after Hamlet kills her father, she becomes mad and later drowns.

Laertes

He is the only son of Polonius and Ophelia’s brother. He is not a main character in the play because we only see him in few scenes. Laertes makes his first appearance in the play during the wedding ceremony of Claudius and Gertrude’s wedding. Then, he moves to Paris, France where he lives. After Hamlet kills Polonius in act four, Laertes shows up again with anger ready to revenge against his father’s killer (MacDonald 45). However, he develops the plot to kill Hamlet by working with Claudius. Laertes appearance in two scenes depicts his hasty movements as if he is not acting to develop the plot of the play.

Polonius

He is the father to Laertes and Ophelia and an adviser to the government of Denmark. He is depicted as an interfering, windy and pedantic old man who acts in a silly manner. In fact, Hamlet calls him an intruding fool in the last acts of the play (MacDonald 36). He is ever-hiding and plans to spy on Hamlet with the aid of Claudius. Polonius even creates a theory that Hamlet has gone mad because her daughter, Ophelia rejected him. In my opinion, I would say that the audience feels satisfied after his death in act four. Even if Hamlet kills Polonius accidently, the audience would feel that his death is like revenge against King Claudius perpetrated by Hamlet.

Horatio

He is depicted as the only loyal friend to Horatio. He is a young man who appears more serious than Hamlet. He is comical and good at inventing jokes with Hamlet in the first scenes of the play. Hamlet praises Horatio admitting that he is a good-humoured man who makes his life interesting. Hamlet declares that he loves Horatio’s character in act two, scene two (MacDonald 37). Horatio seems to be that character that supports Hamlet in his attempts to revenge against Claudius. In other words, he indirectly facilitates the growth of tension between Claudius and Horatio. He is also obedient to Hamlet because, at the end of the play, he explains the pile of bodies in the courtroom after receiving orders from Hamlet.

Works Cited
MacDonald, Paul. William Shakespeares Hamlet: Study Notes for Advanced English, Module B 2009-2012 Hsc. Seven Hills, N.S.W: Five Senses Education, 2008. Print.

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