Hamlet: Character List
Hamlet is a story written by William Shakespeare and represents the revenge that Prince Hamlet is instructed to enact against Claudius. The genesis of the revenge plan against Claudius degenerates from his involvement in the murder of King Hamlet, who is the father of Prince Hamlet. One of the disgusting parts of the story that sets Hamlet against Claudius is that after he kills his father, Claudius seizes the throne and inherits his mother, Gertrude. Prince Hamlet acts the role of a chief protagonist in the story, and his activities are motivated by the conditions surrounding the death of his father (Burdett and William 78). The sorrow of death makes his behavior increasingly erratic. Despite the attempts by Claudius and Gertrude to persuade him out of his bad moods, he becomes more adamant and less cheerful. He finds it challenging to come to terms with the death of his father. The story inclines to both comic art and realism.
The interaction between characters in the play invokes the moods of reality but still introduces the aspects of imaginations and the world of spirits. For instance, the reincarnation of the spirit of the deceased King Hamlet perturbs characters such as Bernardo and Marcellus. Everyone else is convinced that the ghost is of the late king Hamlet. The encounter between Prince Hamlet and the ghost is a special one since the ghost divulges to him the causation of his father’s death. The exposition of the King Hamlet sets the mood of the play. In the conversation between Prince Hamlet and the ghost, he is informed that Claudius murdered the father (the ghost) by pouring a juice of cursed Lebanon in his ears. In the encounter, the ghost demands that Hamlet avenges him.
Prince Hamlet accepts the need to revenge for the murder. At some point, Prince Hamlet is caught in between odds either to accept the testimony of the ghost as a true account of the death of his father or just a mere illusion. However, he decides to reenact the death of his father to set the platform of proving the guilt or otherwise of Claudius. The convergence between the spiritual world and reality resurfaces when the court presiding over the re-enacted case of King Hamlet’s death proves the information already divulged by the ghost. The court in a confirmatory move asserts the use of poisonous juice in killing the king. At the mention of the use of a poisonous juice to kill the king, Claudius rises and leaves the courtroom. This reaction acts to prove his guilt (Burdett and William 78). Gertrude is presented as brainwashed in her new relationship with Claudius that she fails to acknowledge the right steps that Hamlet is making to determine the actual cause of his father’s death.
Claudius realizes his wrongdoing and prays over his murder of King Hamlet. Prince Hamlet contemplates revenge by killing Claudius but since the killing is intended to send Claudius into everlasting suffering, he desists from killing him immediately after prayer. Hamlet reasons that killing Claudius immediately after his prayer would grant him the chance of enjoying eternally, a fact that Hamlet cannot accept. He has the desire to ensure that Claudius goes straight into purgatory where he fancies his father to exists.
Prince Hamlet becomes so nervous of Claudius after he actuates his doubts about his relationship with his father’s death. The play depicts the nervousness of Prince Hamlet in several instances. For example, he stabs Polonius thinking that he was Claudius. In a move to leverage his sense of insecurity, Claudius lobbies for the deportation and execution of Hamlet and eventual murder. When the plot to deport and execute Prince Hamlet in England fails, Claudius hatches a fresh plan to secure his death.
The play is representative of human nature to revenge for all wrongdoing committed by them. The desire to avenge for the deceased father makes Prince Hamlet melancholic and apparently mad. From the onset of the play, the audience gets the first impression of Hamlet as dressed totally in black clothes. Black is symbolic of evil desires and gloom associated with the bad moods and shapes of grief. The inner conviction of Hamlet to revenge the death of his father remains his inner personal motivation (Meyer 59). The physical appearance of Hamlet depicts a character in crisis, but the people around including the mother cannot ultimately bail him out of the somber moods. Hamlet’s outward appearance remains of a mourning character, and he makes it clear that the unconcealed signs of sorrow do not come close to assigning how much grief he feels.
Throughout the play, Gertrude appears swayed by the reality of death irrespective of the cause. She believes in the transition between life and death in which immortality is unavoidable. She gets over the death of her husband so quickly and forges an intimate association with the murderer of her husband. The play exemplifies the abounding attachment between a father and a son as opposed to the husband-wife attachment. Hamlet’s attachment to the deceased father compels him to appease the dead spirits at all reasonable costs while the mother, on the other hand, apprehends him of such a retaliatory disposition. The unwavering love between Hamlet and the father is so explicit that he recounts it in the play. He reiterates that the father was such an excellent king, loving to his mother, and elegant.
The behavior of Gertrude makes Prince Hamlet bear a very negative perception of women. It is so clear from the letters and gifts that Hamlet gave Ophelia that he loved her. However, he changed his stance on love following the behavior of his mother after the father’s death. The relationship between Gertrude and Claudius is a considerable betrayal (Meyer 62). It startles Hamlet how his mother could forge such an intimate relationship with the murderer of her husband. In essence, Hamlet remorsefully reminisces the happy moments that his mother and father had but in a quick turn of events, she later forges a union with the man who killed her loving husband. He is disappointed in women that he disregards his own relationship with Ophelia. In an expression of his utmost disappointment with women, Hamlet turns on Ophelia and destroys her, with unimaginable cruelty.
Even in his bitter cynicism and cruel words, Hamlet still recognizes family and friendship ties. He accepts that fate pins him to have a close tie with friends and relatives. When he antagonizes his mother and is so persistent that the Ghost must mediate on her behalf, Hamlet apparently longs that the mother expresses to him her affection, to comfort her and to be comforted by her (Meyer 61). However, the mood that Hamlet acquires inhibits him from expressing social relations in the most appropriate way. Generally, the involvement of his uncle in the father’s death denies Hamlet of love, pleasure, and tenderness. His perception of the royal family affairs between Claudius and his mother destroys the faith that he bore on humanity, and he contemplates suicide.
The recognition of the value of life challenges his intentions to kill Claudius. He acknowledges that if he had to avenge for the deceased father then he too has to commit the same offense of killing. The consideration of the value of life places Hamlet at a dramatic paradox. He triumphantly tries to devalue life and rise above his moral to kill in retaliation for the death of his father. As the play progresses to its climax and end, revenge, ambition, lust, and conspiracy return to the heads of those that advanced them on Hamlet.
Burdett, Lois, and William Shakespeare. Hamlet for Kids. Toronto: Firefly Books, 2000. Print.
Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. Boston; New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. Print.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Hauppauge, N.Y: Barron’s, 2002. Print.