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An Analysis Of The Characters In Hamlet

2517 words - 10 pages

An Analysis of the Characters in Hamlet

Hamlet by William Shakespeare has been considered by many critics as
one of the best plays in English literature. It has also been
considered as one of the best tragedies among the many Shakespeare
wrote. It is a story which revolves around this person called Hamlet,
prince of Denmark. It is set in the Elizabethan times in the 16th
century. It is a tragedy because it results in the deaths of many
characters either accidentally or purposefully or forcefully. They all
revolve around Hamlet’s actions and thoughts and the deaths, either
directly or indirectly are a consequence of his actions. Each
character in Hamlet is important and deserves a great deal of
attention. The aim of this piece of work aims to give a description of
the main characters in Hamlet and some of the roles and functions they
had to play. It also hopes to give the reader an understanding of the
play by trying to explain the roles of the characters. As Shakespeare
himself said “All the world's a stage, And all the men and women
merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man
in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages

The characters that we will be looking at are – The Ghost, Claudius,
Polonius, Gertrude, Laertes, Ophelia, Fortinbras, Rosencratz and
Guildernsten, Horatio and Hamlet.

1. The Ghost – The Ghost is the ghost of the late king Hamlet, the
present Hamlet’s father. It is a very important character and is
mentioned in the beginning itself. It sets the basis of the whole
story. This ghost makes a majestic appearance in Denmark which is
noticed by two soldiers. This is how the story begins. They then
report it to Hamlet who comes personally and talks to it. The ghost is
responsible for telling Hamlet the truth which puts Hamlet in a
thinking mood of ways to avenge his father’s murder. The ghost also
makes Hamlet and three other Danes swear to avenge ‘his most unnatural
death’. The ghost brings about the beginning of the play by making its
appearance and appealing to Hamlet.

The ghost appears again when it confronts Hamlet with his mother,
Gertrude. It brings Hamlet back to his senses after he commits a
murder in a rash mood. It is not seen by Gertrude. It tries to urge
him to try to dissuade his mother to live any longer with Claudius.
The ghost plays two roles, the first one to inform Hamlet of the truth
and the second one to pacify him after his rash action.

2. Claudius – Claudius is the late king Hamlet’s brother. He murders
his brother, marries his sister-in-law and ascends to the throne
despite the king’s own son Hamlet being alive. Claudius is a very
cunning and shrewd man who speaks eloquently and manipulatively trying
to justify his actions. He is the person at whom Hamlet’s anger is
mainly targeted at.


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