Characters In Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

1975 words - 8 pages

Shakespeare has always had the gift of creating characters each with their own unique facets that, in combination, make for a play full of multi-dimensional characters. In the case of Shakespeare’s perhaps most famous play Hamlet, a more prominent role is held by the defining traits of each of the more important characters. When looked at from a more in-depth perspective one would find that many of these traits are revealed through an inference inherent to their speech. In Hamlet’s case his most eloquent dialogue shows his analytical mind, but also poses a question over Hamlet’s confidence: with circumstances of precarious matter, does he lack the confidence to be decisive, procrastinating, and knowingly so, with the important decisions required of him, or is it simply that this time is spent reasoning things to their most full extent so that his course of action proves to be the correct one. With respect to Claudius there is an extreme confidence in his cunning and deceitful craft as he often speaks with a willful hypocrisy. Also, it will be shown that Claudius has a dominantly selfish personality, manipulating people in order to use them to achieve his own ends. And, lastly, Gertrude, who possesses an enigmatic persona, is one who makes difficult the task of interpreting her motives and mindset with any real certainty.
Hamlet, a man with much intelligence, proves himself to be both logical and analytical. However, as he has sometimes revealed throughout the play, he procrastinates with what can seem to be over-analysis where the politics of the situation prove to be rather delicate, and yet when he is dealing with relatively inconsequential matters he can show as much confidence as Laertes. Through the readers’ eyes it is often Hamlet’s intelligence which assumes prominence. Hamlet’s logical mind, when looked at superficially, seems to take a primary role in the play as it is often demonstrated in a more apparent respect when compared to Hamlet’s other characteristics. Evidence of Hamlet’s analytical personality is touched on in a profound way with his second soliloquy, found in act two:
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell, […]
May be the devil, and the devil hath power
T' assume a pleasing shape. Yea, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me. I'll have grounds
More relative than this. The play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king. (2.2.595-616)
With this soliloquy one finds Hamlet in rumination over his course of action. His contemplation, initiated by the players’ reenactment, full of a kind of pseudo-emotion, represents how Hamlet thinks and allows the reader to get inside his head, if only for a short time. Hamlet demonstrates in those lines that he is capable of taking a step back from his situation in order to examine matters as though he were...

Find Another Essay On Characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet

Revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

1426 words - 6 pages Revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet In Hamlet, Shakespeare uses revenge as a major theme present throughout the work. Revenge plays a crucial role in the development of Fortinbras, Prince of Norway, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, and Laertes, son of Polonius. All three men seek revenge for the murder of their fathers. Revenge can be interpreted as a separate character in Hamlet. Revenge is set to overcome anyone who seeks it. Initially, after each

Revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

1697 words - 7 pages Prince Hamlet’s journey to exact revenge on Claudius for all he’s done to the kingdom, is the fact that revenge plays a rather large role throughout the play, being what motivates Hamlet to pretend insanity in order to succeed. Revenge is an important theme portrayed constantly throughout Hamlet, not only by the title character, but also by other minor characters. The idea of revenge in Hamlet is depicted in various ways throughout the play

Horatio in Shakespeare's Hamlet

2289 words - 9 pages words, my lord.” And Hamlet apologizes to Horatio. From the outset of the drama, the reader/viewer sees the sporadic development of Horatio’s character, into one of complex temperament and motivation, which would render him quite “rounded” (Abrams 33); in other words, he is one of Shakespeare’s “sharply etched characters” (Wilkie and Hurt 2155). Horatio then bows out of the play for quite some time.   Meanwhile the hero puts on an “antic

Rottenness in Shakespeare's Hamlet

888 words - 4 pages suffers the ultimate pain – to watch his mother die – we can see in the characters indications of moral bankruptcy, both perceived and real. Some characters, such as Ophelia, are by nature of their innocence direct contrasts to the pervasive sense of rottenness in the state of Denmark. Perhaps in the end it is Hamlet’s relative moral steadiness that remains an outpost of righteousness. In conclusion, in Hamlet we can see many sources of rottenness that guide our interpretation of the play.

Grief in Shakespeare's Hamlet

1120 words - 4 pages According to Webster’s Desk Dictionary, grief is defined as “keen mental suffering over affection or loss” (397). Various characters in Hamlet choose to deal with grief in different ways, with many of their methods harmful in the end. Ophelia is dealt two setbacks during the course of the play, one being her father’s death and the other being Hamlet’s disrespectful treatment. Her brother Laertes must also deal with Polonius’s death, as well as

Ambiguity in Shakespeare's Hamlet

2718 words - 11 pages Ambiguity in Hamlet       Ambiguity of both language and action is commonplace in Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet. Let us examine what can be found relative to this ambiguity in the play.   D.G. James says in “The New Doubt” that the Bard of Avon has the ambiguous habit of charging a word with several meanings at once:   “Conscience does make cowards of us.” There has been, I am aware, much dispute as to what the word means

Comparing Laertes and Hamlet in Shakespeare's Hamlet

886 words - 4 pages Comparing Laertes and Hamlet       In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the characters of Laertes and Hamlet both display impulsive reactions when angered. Once Laertes discovers his father has been murdered, he immediately assumes the slayer is Claudius. As a result of Laertes' speculation, he instinctively moves to avenge Polonius' death. "To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil! Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit! I dare

The Rage of Hamlet in Shakespeare's Hamlet

625 words - 3 pages In William Shakespeare’s play “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”, though the protagonist Hamlet pretends to be mad as he seeks revenge for the murder of his father, he is suffering from depression and a barely contained rage towards the people closest to him as revealed in his treatment of Gertrude and Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Polonius and Claudius. The barely concealed rage he feels towards his mother, lover, friends

Selective Perception in Shakespeare's Hamlet

1761 words - 7 pages Selective Perception in Shakespeare's Hamlet          From the end of Act I, the point at which Hamlet judges it may be prudent to feign madness - to "put an antic disposition on" (I.v.181) - much of the first half of the play concerns characters trying to determine why the prince's melancholy has evolved into seeming insanity.  Each of the major players in Elsinore has a subjective impression of the reason for Hamlet's madness

Feminine Representation in Shakespeare's Hamlet

2671 words - 11 pages Hamlet and the portrayal of its female characters, it is important to consider Renaissance views on women and the existence of politics in everyday life.  In Shakespeare's time, women were considered to be weaker than men and not as mentally or physically capable.  A woman functioned simply as a wife and a mother; her own interests and aspirations were not considered important.  Also essential to Renaissance England was the politics of everyday

Passionate Gertrude in Shakespeare's Hamlet

2922 words - 12 pages Passionate Gertrude in Hamlet             Like so many of the characters in Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, Gertrude appears to be dominated by passion. This essay will explore this and other aspects of her interesting character.   Lilly B. Campbell comments in “Grief That Leads to Tragedy” on Queen Gertrude’s sinful state:   Shakespeare’s picture of the Queen is explained to us by Hamlet’s speech to her in her closet. There

Similar Essays

Madness Of Multiple Characters In Shakespeare's Hamlet

960 words - 4 pages In the play Hamlet, the author, Shakespeare portrays madness or insanity through most of its characters. What is madness, it is a state of mind in which doesn’t let ones ideas flow normally or think with a clear mind. In this case it is evident that there is something wrong with almost all the main characters. All the characters in the play in some form or fashion display madness either through thoughts, actions or words. Due to Hamlets

Describe The Way In Which Tom Stoppard Appropriates Themes, Characters And Ideas From Shakespeare's Hamlet In His Modern Play, Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead.

646 words - 3 pages transforms Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from two manipulative characters into doomed, manipulated men.While Hamlet has a formal, traditional structure, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead has a more modern and unrestrictive format. This relates to the difference in the two different societies the authors belonged to and wrote for. Shakespeare's audience would have expected to be entertained by a spectacular story with certain conventions, whereas

Foils In Shakespeare's "Hamlet". Essay

998 words - 4 pages Foils in Shakespeare's "Hamlet"Hamlet, written in 1600 by William Shakespeare, offers one of the most complex and unique storylines in literature history. The cause of its excellence is primarily based on Shakespeare's profound use of his characters. The main character, Hamlet, is a reflective and thoughtful young man who is often hesitant and indecisive. This personality attributes to his hamartia, or tragic flaw. Shakespeare further

Imagery In Shakespeare's "Hamlet". Essay

892 words - 4 pages Shakespeare's tragic play "Hamlet" conveys several images of both sickness anddisease; these images support the theme of political corruption. This theme can beexamined by focusing on three distinct aspects of the play. These include: theforeshadowing mood in Act I, the fact that all of the novel's corruption stems frommisdeeds of various characters, and Hamlet's wisdom and concoction for vengeance.The foreshadowing images in Act I, which