Premium Essay

Characterization in the Play Hamlet

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Gachuki
Words 1188
Pages 5
Hamlet is one of the greatest Shakespeare’s plays that have for a long time fascinated many readers all around the globe. The character of hamlet plays a central role in the Shakespeare’s tragic play which has the same name. When the play starts Hamlet is far from being a commanding figure. The play starts with Hamlet striking a defensive poster. He is very resentful of what had happened. The play paints an image of a man who is very thoughtful. It is maybe for this reason that he is the main protagonist in this tragic drama. Hamlet takes time to think about incidents in his life a trait that keeps the play moving. He takes time before acting which raises the question of to why he is the central figure in the play.
The start of the play also paints an image of a depressed hamlet. All through the play Hamlet is a victim of his cruel fate. Although he is melancholic, Hamlet is a schemer and very secretive. After the ghost revealed to him who his father’s killer was, Hamlet does not jump into action but opts to think about the incident first. He also makes Horatio and Marcellus to vow to keep the ghost story a secret. Hamlet has been able to make this one of the best plays maybe due to his complicated character which is hard for the other characters to understand. He himself acknowledges at the start of the play that “Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother nor customary suits of solemn black” (I.ii.77-84). By this he acknowledges that he is a character with more than one facet. Even though it hurts Hamlet that his mother got married very first to his uncle he does not show any emotions. This intricate character of Hamlet makes this indeed one of the best plays and makes it hard for other characters to understand him.
Claudius
Claudius is Hamlet’s uncle and the brother to the fallen king. He ascended to the throne after the death of the king. He is also one of…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Shakespeare's Hamlet

...One of the most unique things about the play Hamlet (with Hamlet playing the main character) is the way relationships between the main and lesser characters have not changed from Shakespeare's time period in which he wrote this play to the modern dilemmas of today. The character Hamlet relates through individualism of self to others in the play and Shakespeare uses this confusion of self and nature thus assuring many types of readers who can relate to his Hamlet characterization. Hamlet portrays himself with all his human flaws, but it is this humanity that makes him distinctive from everyone else in the story. In addition, all of Hamlet's waking hours are preoccupied with his own thoughts thus adding more intensity to his feelings and perceptions about where he sees imperfections, worry and tension as well as confusion, but without a doubt it is these human qualities which makes his situation so impossible for him to resolve easily. Another tragic role of the play is its irony. The irony allows the storyline to show humor as well as the cause and effects of each action taken. There is usually little reason for a tragedy to be funny so Shakespeare has used this type of humor to add more irony to the already tragic events of the play. Pause for thought is in the types of conflict that play a major part in the play and the relationships between Hamlet and the two people who have been closest to him; being Ophelia and the ghost. Hamlet cannot share his strong feelings and......

Words: 1880 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Characterization of Hamlet

...The Characterization of Hamlet William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is an emotional play, filled with such dark attributes as revenge and evil. In Act I Scene II, Hamlet, the protagonist of the play, makes his first appearance and also, right after an exchange with his mother Gertrude and his uncle Claudius, delivers his first soliloquy which reveals his inner thoughts to the audience. This is where the tension begins to build up; Hamlet expresses his anger and frustration he feels towards his father’s death and the hasty marriage between his mother and his uncle. This introduces Hamlet’s outlook on and attitude towards this series of events, thus establishing a foundation for the course of his future actions. Through the content of the soliloquy, as well as through the use of diction and figurative language, Shakespeare brings out the characterization of Hamlet, establishes the very essence of the play and foreshadows its course by exposing the genuine yet dark thoughts of the protagonist to the audience. As it is Hamlet’s first soliloquy, and thus the audience’s first contact with his feelings, Hamlet exposes little other than his attitude towards this affair; nothing is really revealed about his intentions. It is made clear that Hamlet desires to die, but dares not commit suicide because God forbids it. The audience is then introduced to Hamlet’s reverence for his father and his distaste for his uncle, then his increasing mistrust of women, and finally his vexation at the......

Words: 1062 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Hamlet

...Hamlet, In spite of a prejudice current in certain circles that if now produced for the first time it would fail, is the most popular play in our language. ~ G.H.Lewes. The distinctive concerns of a time and place construct the foundation and shape meaning in a text. The Shakespearean play of Hamlet is an enduring play as the themes introduced in the play by Shakespeare are closely parallel and touch on with the intricacies of human conditions. Shakespeare’s Hamlet is complex play where numeral themes are intertwined. These themes reinforce the development of a revenge tragedy. Without any doubt, the most essential theme present in Hamlet is revenge. Revenge is a frightening bloodthirsty emotion which forces individuals to act blindly. This aspect of revenge is explored through the play by Shakespeare creating the idea in which Hamlet seeks to avenge the murder of his father, King Hamlet, by Claudius. In a typical revenge tragedy, a revenger craves and takes his revenge, leaving himself in a vicious cycle of ongoing revenge. However Hamlet is quite different, “prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell, / must like a whore unpack my heart with words” As instead of taking revenge he talks about it. William Shakespeare very effectively uses soliloquies to accentuate character traits and to reinforce specific themes in his play. A soliloquy spoken by hamlet in act 3 clearly portrays his character flaws and......

Words: 1371 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Hamlet

...03/26/1 Tom Olsen Hamlet The play “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare is about a prince whose father is murdered by his brother. The entire play is Hamlet trying to avenge the death of his father. Hamlet’s uncle wants to be the king so he marries hamlet’s mother Gertrude. The conflict is very serious because his own family wants to kill him. His cousin is the one doing all the dirty work. The conflict is hazardous to everyone because one wrong move and more than the main people will die. There is a lot to be learned in this play from themes to whether or not the characters are believable. There is a main theme of revenge. Hamlet wants revenge against his uncle for killing his father. He is also upset with him because his mother got remarried so quickly after he died. Throughout the play he tries to find evidence that his uncle murdered his father. The sub theme of hamlet is madness. Hamlet has an antic disposition, which means he acts in a frivolous way. It’s hard to tell if hamlet actually does go mad or if he is faking it to confuse the king and his followers. Hamlet puts on a good show of going mad so no one suspects a thing. Another sub theme is lies and deceit. Hamlet is someone who craves honesty and hates being lied to, but his life pretty much revolves around having to lie to everybody. There are a lot more themes in this play ranging from religion to family. The main themes are the ones we focus the most on when reading. Hamlet starts out......

Words: 707 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Characterization

...Characterization 1. Who are the main characters in the stories? Young Goodman Brown Goodman Brown Faith Old man/Devil The Lottery Tessie Hutchinson Old man Warner Mr. Summers 2. What are their outstanding qualities? Does the author give any indication as to how or why the character developed these qualities? Young Goodman Brown Goodman Brown Curiosity Christian Married to Faith Protagonist Proud of family history of godly men His faith is based on what we has learned and seen publically by his father and elders of the church. His faith is built upon social structures. Corrupt and evil toward the end of the story Faith Wife Beautiful & young Trusting Has nightmares Represents stability of the Browns home Pure hearted Ribbons represent young, playful, and pure Old man/Devil Appears to be an ordinary man which represents, that everyone has the capacity for evil The devil Appears to be normal and not out of place like I thought he would. Lasting impression on Goodman Brown Holds a walking staff that looks like a serpent The Lottery Tessie Hutchinson Late Stands out to the whole town Threatening Flustered Out of breath Free spirited Protests against the lottery Draws the marked paper Stoned to death Silenced by everyone Old man Warner Oldest man in town Participated in 77 lottery’s Doesn’t want to change the lottery tradition Keeps things exactly the way they are Threatened by the idea of change Thinks the......

Words: 340 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Which Play Is More Tragic: Hamlet or Agamemnon

...Which Play is More Tragic: Hamlet or Agamemnon In my opinion, the play Hamlet is more tragic than Agamemnon. They are both tragedies as they both fulfill Aristotle’s definition of tragedy as they both depict the downfall of a basically good person through some fatal error or misjudgment, which produces suffering and insight on the part of the protagonist and arousing pity and fear on the part of the audience. They also have all the elements of Greek tragedy such as hubris, catharsis, peripeteia, anagnorisis, and hamartia (“Ancient Greek Tragedy”). The most important reason that Hamlet is more tragic, in my opinion, is because the protagonist, Hamlet, is an integral part of the play and his character is much more developed. In Agamemnon , the protagonist, Agamemnon, is a secondary character to his wife who, in my opinion is the main character. Hamlet is a tragic hero, as is Agamemnon, following Aristotle’s criteria for the elements of a tragic hero. For example, they both evoke the audience’s pity and fear, have a major flaw of character and are destined to fall in some way (“Tragedy in Drama”). However, because Hamlet is the main character, we see, hear and understand more of his character. When Hamlet delivers his many dramatic soliloquies about mortality, betrayal, and the futility of life, he shows us his tortured world and the anguish, grief, and uncertainty which eventually takes over his life, leading to his death (“Hamlet Tone”). As the reader, I felt so much......

Words: 567 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Hamlet Movie Scene Comparison

...Hamlet Movie Scene Comparison Act II, scene 2 is the longest scene in Hamlet. In this scene, Rosencrantz and Guildernstern come to the King, Voltimand and Cornelius report the message from Norway, Polonius suggests to Claudius and Gertrude the reason of Hamlet’s madness, Hamlet calls Polonius a “fishmonger”, Rosencrantz and Guildernstern bring in the players, Hamlet decides to let the players play the Old King’s murder. Scene 2 is divided into sub-sections in a way to present the plot and the theme more clearly. The “fishmonger scene” refers to the part from Polonius’s explanation of Hamlet’s madness “Your noble son is mad” (2.2.92) to the end of Hamlet and Polonius’s first interaction “except my life” (2.2.210), initiates Hamlet’s actions on revenge and vouchsafes how other characters view his “madness”. This essay will compare the actors’ gestures and line arrangements from directors Kenneth Branagh and Franco Zeffirelli to depict the different effects in Hamlet’s madness. First, the actors’ gestures between Kenneth Branagh version and Mel Gibson version show differences to the interpretations of Hamlet’s madness. There are not many gestures in the Kenneth Branagh film, which can mean something. When Polonius talks to Claudius and Gertrude, also when he talks to Hamlet, he does not have obvious big body movement, but instead just standing straight, walking steadily, behaving perfectly like a honorable and educated man; Hamlet as the noble son of the King and Queen, and......

Words: 1159 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Hamlet Senior Paper

...regret saying something to the person or not saying something. She could be remembering the good times she had with that person as well, it could remind her of the person. Hamlet is the same way. Hamlet is dealing with grief his own way. Shakespeare is showing Hamlet as a person who isn’t getting along with anybody. Everybody has their own way of dealing with grief. Everybody in the play tells Hamlet to move on and stop grieving, but in reality everybody in the play are in their own stages. Everybody from Gertrude to the Claudius is showing the different stages of grief. In the play Hamlet, Shakespeare shows the distinct stages of grief by using successful cause and effect vivid characterization and dramatic suspense. Shakespeare uses dramatic suspense to show the different stages of grief. Hamlet loved his father. In the beginning of the play, he calls his father "…so excellent a king…"(Act 1,Scence 2 line 139), he says that Hamlet nor Claudius are not like Hercules but his father can be compared to the greek god. "My father's brother, but no more like my father Than I to Hercules…"(1:ii.151-152). Like any son his father is a superhero to him. Losing your role model and the person you look up to devastating "He was a man, take him for allin all, I shall not look upon his like again." (I.ii.187-188). Hamlet also speaks on his mourning after the queen tells him to stop grieving. Seems, madam! Nay, it is; I know not seems. 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother, Nor......

Words: 3292 - Pages: 14

Premium Essay

Hamlet

...common motivation for characters in a story. In Hamlet by William Shakespeare it is a motivation for the characters Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras. In the play all three characters lose their fathers in by acts of murder, which causes the characters to want get vengence on those responsible. Having different personalities the audience gets to see different approaches and outcomes to the same situation by the three characteres. By the end of the story they are characters who ultimately reach their goals in similar but different ways as avengers. First looking at the character Hamlet, the audience can see a change of the character throughout the play, because of this it allows the audience to think about the character state of mind, based on the actions he takes throughout the play. At the beginning of the play we see that Hamlet is very saddened by the sudden loss of his father, only to find out after meeting the ghost of his father that his death was not a cause of age but murder, which was committed by the new king who has taken power, his uncle Claudius “ The serpent that did sting thy father's life Now wears his crown.” ( Shakespeare I.v, 7). Gaining this information from the ghost of his father we see where Hamlet wants to avenge his father which is proven by his soliloquy, “ that one may smile and smile and be a villain” (Shakespeare I.v, 63), “ now to my word...” ( Shakespeare I.v, 63). It is from this point we see that Hamlet starts to plan out his revenge by......

Words: 1432 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Characterization

...Characterization is the process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character. In the short story ,“Passing” by Langston Hughes, the protagonist’s personality is described through an indirect self characterization. In fact, the author never directly tells the reader how to regard the protagonist but reveals his personality, step by step, through the long letter that he writes to his mother. In this letter Jack, the protagonist of the short story, recalls his past, describes the life he lives and his plan for the future explaining the reasons, which have led him, an extremely light-skinned coloured young man, to deny his identity and to reject his family in order to pass for a white man. At the very beginning of the letter (line 6) he apologises to his mother for not speaking to her, insisting to do so in fear of losing his well-paid job (lines 25-26) if identified as coloured in a society that only grants well paid jobs to white people (lines 26-31). He, basically, pretends that he has taken the decision of living white only because she, his mother, asked him to (lines 35-39) and because he wants to support the family (lines 92-93). He also insists that he feels terrible about having to deny his mother and his siblings (line 50) and that this situation is hard for him to endure (lines 52-59). At a first reading Jack appears to be a person who truly loves and cares for his family, the victim of a racist society, which denies black people equal opportunities and...

Words: 942 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Honesty and Integrity Are Not Found in the Play Hamlet

...found in Hamlet Honesty and integrity can both be described as good qualities, but they are interpreted in different ways, honesty is quality of truthfulness and sincerity. While integrity can be described as the possession of a strong moral principles, and the righteous acts committed by a character. William Shakespeare uses multiple forms of deception and immoral acts in almost every scene in the play Hamlet. Proving that there is neither honesty, nor integrity in the play. Different forms of deception are present in the play Hamlet. Including dishonesty, and manipulating the truth. The first major point to contradict honesty, and prove deception in the play is Hamlet’s antic disposition, and all the lies that were made following it. “As I perchance hereafter shall think meet, to put an antic disposition on” (I, v, 172-173). After he was informed that Claudius was the killer his father, Hamlet decides to put on an antic disposition (a cloak of madness). Hamlet is therefore deceiving everyone into believing in an act that he had created in order to learn more about his father’s death. A second example to oppose honesty in the play Hamlet is Ophelia’s deception towards Hamlet. “Go thy ways to a nunnery. Where's your father...At home, my lord” (III, i, 130-131). Hamlet asks Ophelia where her father is in the previous quote, but she replies with a lie when she said at home. In reality, Polonius was hiding with Claudius behind a door. Therefore, she agreed to deceive Hamlet so......

Words: 734 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Humor in Hamlet

... Gertrude and Helen: Wantonness in the Trojan War and Hamlet Hamlet is the melancholy Dane; Claudius, the smiling villain. Polonius is the oily courtier; Horatio, the loyal friend. Most of the characters in Hamlet are well defined and unambiguous; the character of Gertrude, however, presents us with many ambiguities and difficulties. Some critics see her as "well-meaning but shallow and feminine, in the pejorative sense of the word: incapable of any sustained rational process, superficial and flighty" (Heilbrun 10), while others see her as a stronger character, cool and calculating. The play presents many aspects of Gertrude’s character ambiguously. Janet Adelman writes, Given her centrality in the play, it is striking how little we know about Gertrude; even the extent of her involvement in the murder of her first husband is left unclear....The ghost accuses her at least indirectly of adultery and incest...but he never accuses her of nor exonerates her from the murder. For the ghost, as for Hamlet, her chief crime is her uncontrolled sexuality; that is the object of their moral revulsion, a revulsion as intense as anything directed toward the murderer Claudius. But the Gertrude we see is not quite the Gertrude they see. And when we see her in herself, apart from their characterizations of her, we tend to see a woman more muddled than actively wicked; even her famous sensuality is less apparent than her conflicted solicitude both for her new husband and for...

Words: 1642 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Hamlet

...Effect |  In Act I.v, the Ghost of King Hamlet reveals to Hamlet that the King had been poisoned to death by Claudius.  Dramatic irony occurs because Hamlet, the Ghost and we know the truth that Claudius murdered Hamlet's father.Dramatic irony occurs because only the readers and his friends Marcellus and Horatio know that Hamlet is only pretending to be mad.Ophelia and Polonious thinks that Hamlet is mad in love with Ophelia but only we and his friends know that Hamlet is only pretending to be mad.  |  Hamlet, Ghost and Claudius    |  Sympathy with Hamlet and his father.Antipathy with Claudius |  Claudius killed the father of Hamlet. And no one knew the reality.Antipathy for Claudius because he murdered his own brother and became the king. |   | | Hamlet, Horatio and Marcellus | Sympathy with Hamlet. | Sympathy with Hamlet because he knows that his father had been murdered but couldn’t reveal the truth. | | | Hamlet, Ophelia and Polonious | Sympathy with Ophelia. | Sympathy with Ophelia because she also thought that Hamlet was mad, which made her sad. | | | | | | | |       |   |   |   | Dramatic Irony Critical Analysis- For my critical analysis of dramatic irony in Hamlet I chose when Hamlet learns that his father was poisoned by Claudius. This situation is dramatic irony because Hamlet and the reader know that it was Claudius was the one that killed Hamlet’s father, but the rest of Denmark believes that King Hamlet was bitten by a snake. The rest......

Words: 527 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Hamlet

...2016 The Theme of Appearance vs. Reality The famous play Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, is a very successful tragedy filled with love, conflict and dishonesty. A tragedy is described to be a play that is serious, and has a very sad ending, usually involving the death of the main character. This specific tragedy begins with the main character, Hamlet, feeling a great deal of sorrow from the loss of his father, and his mother’s re-marriage. Soon after these events occur, the ghost of his father explains to Hamlet that Claudius killed him. Claudius was not only Hamlet’s uncle, but also his mother’s new husband. From this point on in the play, the plot explodes with conflict. The characters conceal their true intentions, to figure out what the other characters are really thinking. Throughout the play, it is proven that one of the major themes is appearance versus reality, due to the characters Hamlet, Claudius and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hiding their own realities from the other characters. Primarily, appearance versus reality is a key theme in the tragedy, due to the illusions Hamlet creates throughout the play. At the beginning of the play, everyone thinks Hamlet is depressed over the loss of his father, King Hamlet. Though this is true, Hamlet is most upset about his mother getting re-married to his uncle Claudius. His sadness increases exceedingly when he learns Claudius is the man who killed his father. Hamlet keeps this knowledge to himself, and pretends......

Words: 1035 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Characterization

...Ashley Brown Mr.Everly English 10B 4/17/1 Lord of the Flies: Characterization What is good characterization? Characterization is the way an author presents and develops a character to make them believable. This essay will focus on three believable characters. One of the believable characters is Ralph. Another believable character is Jack. The last believable character is Simon. Because William Golding wanted believable characters, he made Ralph round and dynamic, Jack flat and static, and Simon round and static. One interesting character is Ralph. For example Ralph is a round character because he has multiple traits. Sometimes he borders on savagery, and sometimes he acts civilized. In chapter 2, the children are setting to get rescued. During the conversation, Ralph tells the boys, “We ought to have more rules. Where the conch is, that’s a meeting. The same up here as down there”(42). This shows that Ralph wants to be civilized, but he had times where he was savage too. The best example of Ralph’s savagery is where he helps kill Simon later in the book. Moreover, Ralph is dynamic because he changes throughout the novel. Early in the novel, Ralph is carefree and happy person. By the end, however he becomes very sad and guilty. At the end, Ralph was about to be killed by Jack, but was saved at the last second. This brought a lot of emotion. Ralph cries because he knows that man is not innocent or good, and he cries because Piggy has died (202). Ralph......

Words: 661 - Pages: 3