View Full Version : the character of Hamlet

05-24-2005, 06:07 PM
I'm studying the character of Hamlet in depth and trying to find the reasons behind why he says and does certain things throughout the tragedy. I've been looking for what exactly sums up Hamlet's character. I believe it to be his love of justice, which drives him to seek revenge for his father's murder. However, Hamlet seems to be a multi-faceted guy...is there something else that I am missing that sums up Hamlet's character and influences him to act the way he does in Shakespeare's play?

08-12-2005, 02:56 PM
I once had to do an essay on this for ninth grade english. I believe that Hamlet was not mad at all but only pretending in effort to get revenge and seek justice on his fathers behalf. If you notice all through-out the play, there are many instances when his madness is calculated. In fact, it may even seem that he isn't mad at all. There's alot of different views on the subject.

10-11-2006, 04:15 PM
Hamlet is ambitious, as well as vengeful. "While the grass grows,..." the steed starves (that's the saying): He's popped between me and the election (the election to the crown of Denmark is almost certainly the reference): and the "chameleon's dish" reference (chameleons were thought to eat only air by the Elizabethans). shakespeare.wikia.com/wiki/The_Tragedy_of_Hamlet%2C_Prince_of_Denmark_You_Dec ide_Page#Does_Hamlet_have_another_motive.2C_beside s_revenge.2C_for_murdering_Claudius.3F

He's a kind of Christian paradox: humble and ambitious, vengeful and contrite, happier to do unto death as a response, or in reaction to a provocation by others (I believe that's called "active-passive). His identity as a lord of a nation of former Vikings is well intended, since these had been intensely anti-Christian in the past, robbing and destroying Christian establishments and communities whenever they had the opportunity in their roving raids.

So, he's a complex and very modern character, beset by an illness which is the hallmark of the century.

Good luck.


05-01-2007, 01:23 AM
Hello everyone ! Iam interested in Hamlet very much.
Personally, I like him very much, but I am so sorry to see the whole tragedy. He loves Ophelia , he loves hismother, but he has to be crule out of his kindness:He is a gentleman, while he has no chance but to take revenge for his father. He suffers a lot. As a man, he is great and tragic.

05-23-2007, 10:34 AM
Hamlet, I suppose, signifies the universal problem of 'to be or not to be'. We are all at crossroads very often in our lives. Another trait of humans is to believe what they see and not what they hear. We are rational beings and demand proofs.

05-23-2007, 02:31 PM
Hamlet had a lot of responsibilities that must be considered when looking at his actions and character. He was responsible for avenging his father’s murder while exposing his uncle and not in a manner that would bring disgrace upon his mother or himself. That is no small task. He had no one that he could trust and this is why he acted mad. He was responsible for the death of Ophelia’s father and there for indirectly responsible for the death of Ophelia. Hamlet was really between a rock and a hard place. Through all of this he wanted what was best for himself, his mother, and Ophelia and he did not want his uncle to go to Heaven. He felt all of that was his responsibility. He could have acted differently and avoided all of the trouble, but he was behaving as a human. Sometimes when we try to do what seems right we can really screw up a situation.

05-23-2007, 05:25 PM
It's my opinion that Hamlet is acting the way he is out of honorable revenge for his father. He does all he can to make sure that his uncle pays dearly for what he has done, even leaving him alive while he prays, waiting until he sins so he suffers in purgatory. It's a sad state of affairs, seeing as he murders Polonius without meaning to, so in a way he becomes what he hates himself, a murderer.

06-17-2007, 04:42 AM
Hamlet was an innovator, invented his 'antic disposition' in order to do and say things which would otherwise be unacceptable. clearly educated, a scholar. philosophical, moral. struggled to avenge his father due to his moral values.

just a few ideas

07-13-2007, 09:28 PM
The thing i always try to keep in mind with Hamlet is that he is a fictional character with a subconscious. Although we may remember to discount what he says to other characters, him being so manipulative, we sometimes forget that this ability to persuade others also gives him the opportunity to lie to himself. Much conjecture about Hamlet's character is gathered from his various soliloquies, which many take at face value, since one would assume that he is being truthful with himself. However, I submit that in some places, Hamlet is in denial about a terrible inner conflict which barely brushes the surface of his composure, thus making even his thoughts subject to wide interpretation.
An example would be in Hamlet's decision not to kill Claudius as he prays. His reason, in his own mind, for doing so is that he is waiting to kill Claudius until he can be sure Claudius will be sent to Hell upon his death. However, one could see this as simply an excuse for Hamlet to once more delay killing his uncle, since he is asking a virtual impossibility: to know with certainty what becomes of another's soul in the afterlife. Earlier in the play, in his "To Be or Not to Be" soliloquy, Hamlet himself admits that death is an unknown, and an unknowable. So how, then, does he propose to find out when Claudius's soul will suffer the most?

07-18-2007, 03:47 PM
I should like to suggest that the character of Hamlet is not unrelated to an influence of the spirit of adoption that has usurped authority at the Danish Court in the name of Claudius (vide John 10.10).

all about me
09-26-2007, 02:14 PM
from my point of view the character of hamlet is just a reaction to his fathers death but deep inside he has lots of feelings towards others and he really does love Ophelia but he has to show his other face because of the thing that happened to him and I see that this is normal

10-10-2007, 04:59 PM
Here are some useful tips when considering Hamlets character:

Before you start asking questions about Hamlet's character, think about the time period in which the play was written. Do some good background reading regarding the time in which Shakespeare lived (1564 - 1616) since that will put their fears, beliefs and customs into beautiful perspective.

When you have the background knowledge, you could look into the following:

1. What was Hamlet's true relationship with Ophelia at the beginning of the play (To which extend did he love Ophelia? Was their relationship just a mutual feeling, or was it more physical?), where did it change and what was the cause and magnitude of that change? Personally I am of meaning that Hamlet truly loved Ophelia at the start of the play, but that his feelings towards her changed rapidly when he realized that she was lying to him about her father being at home (just after his "To be or not to be" speech).

2. Do Hamlet really want to avenge his father's death as much as is indicated? If so why does he not kill Claudius earlier in the play? Is he truthful when he contemplates about not killing Claudius in the church while praying, or is he merely justifying his own unwillingness to act? Once again the time period plays a vital role in this argument since the common belief during the mid-1500's was that to fully avenge somebody's murder, you should destroy the killer's body and soul; thus condemning that person's soul to hell whilst killing his/her body.

3. Then there is always the question of Hamlet's sanity. Is he merely pretending, or is he truly mad? If so what caused this madness? Furthermore why does he never show any signs of madness when he is with his dear friend Horatio? It could be that he is indeed mad and have a quite serious case of schizophrenia. If however he is not mentally ill, why does he act that way? Will it really help him avenge his father's murder? Again the time period is quite significant since one have to view his apparent madness in accordance with the time frame as it would be of no use to analyze his sanity according to modern standards.

I hope this will help you in your evaluation of Hamlet's character.


10-22-2007, 05:06 AM
To me, it seems that Hamlet is experiencing some conflict between who he is and who he is meant to be. Hamlet has a role: it is to be the regal Prince of Denmark, who should undertake all measures to defend his honour and avenge his father's death. However, Hamlet soon realises that his personality (i.e. a moping, sullen teenager/ learned philosopher/ Rennaissance man) is incompatible with the role demanded on him.