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Character Summary

CHARACTERS

Francisco: soldier on guard who is only too happy to be relieved

Bernardo: officer who relieves Francisco and who is an eyewitness of the Ghost

Marcellus: officer who tries in conjunction with Bernardo to convince
Horatio of the existence of the Ghost

Horatio: Hamlet's friend and Wittenberg (university) schoolmate who has his doubts about Bernardo and Marcellus' claim that Elsinore is haunted by a ghost in the likeness of Prince Hamlet's deceased father

Claudius: Hamlet's uncle who is the current king of Denmark on account of his marriage to Hamlet's mother, the widowed queen of Denmark

Cornelius and Voltemand: couriers sent to Norway by Claudius to dissuade Fortinbras from reclaiming lands in Denmark that his father had lost to Hamlet's father

Gertrude: the widowed queen of Denmark, Hamlet's mother, and the newly-wed wife to Claudius

Hamlet: a university student at Wittenberg, he is the son of the murdered king of Denmark, making him the one and only prince of Denmark

The Ghost: the spirit of Hamlet's murdered father which is in a state of unrest due to perishing without the sacrament and extreme unction

Polonius: Denmark's Lord Chamberlain, he is Claudius' stooge, a busybody, and the father of Laertes and Ophelia

Laertes: Polonius' son, he is nonetheless highly regarded by Hamlet for his swordplay mastery and general excellence of bearing and reputation

Ophelia: Laertes' sister, Polonius' daughter, and Hamlet's love interest

Reynaldo: Polonius' servant who is commissioned by Polonius to snoop around and slander his own son for the purpose of provoking a report more favorable to his son than what would be warranted under normal circumstances

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: courtiers who keep tabs on Hamlet on behalf of the king and whose meddling, like Polonius', eventually cost them their lives

1st Player: the actor who performs Aeneas' speech to Dido, involving Pyrrhus' slaughter of Priam, at Hamlet's behest

P. King: the role of king that Hamlet creates for the play with which Hamlet will test the conscience of Claudius

P. Queen: the role of queen that Hamlet creates for the play with which Hamlet will test the conscience of Gertrude

Fortinbras: the nephew to the current king of Norway, he is the son of the former king of Norway who was vanquished by Hamlet's father

Captain: an officer of Fortinbras' Norwegian army, he is convinced that he is part of an enterprise which if achieved will only impress in name

Sailor: commissioned by Hamlet to deliver letters to the king and queen and to fetch Horatio

1st Clown: gravedigger who dares to banter with Prince Hamlet

2nd Clown: another gravedigger

1st Priest: the man who performs Ophelia's funeral rites the sparseness of which Horatio objects to

Osric: a courtier who is held in contempt by both Hamlet and Horatio

William Shakespeare