Character Profile- Hamlet

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  • Created on: 27-11-15 17:11

Character Profile- Hamlet

Hamlet — The prince of Denmark, son of Gertrude, nephew of

Claudius, and heir to the throne. Hamlet is a deep thinker,

focusing on impossible to answer questions about religion,

death, truth, reality, and the motivations of others. He even

obsessively contemplates the fact that he obsessively

contemplates. He loves Ophelia and his mother, but his

mother's marriage to Claudius makes him mistrust and even

hate all women. He detests all forms of deception, yet plots and

pretends to be insane. At times he even seems to be insane.

Despite his obsessive thinking, he can act impulsively, as when

he kills Polonius. Hamlet is an enigma, a man so complex even

he doesn't completely know himself. In other words, he seems

like a real person—which has made Hamlet the most well

known character in English literature.

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Character Profile- Claudius

Claudius — Hamlet's uncle, and Gertrude's second husband.

Power-hungry and lustful, Claudius murders his brother in

order to take the throne of Denmark and marry his wife.

Claudius is a great talker and schemer. He easily charms the

royal court into accepting his hasty marriage to his brother's

widow, and comes up with plot after plot to protect his ill-
gained power. He is the consummate politician, yet his hold on

power is always slightly tenuous. At various times he does show

guilt for killing his brother, and his love of Gertrude seems


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Character Profile- Gertrude

Gertrude — Hamlet's mother. After Hamlet's father dies,

Gertrude quickly marries Hamlet's uncle, Claudius. Though she

is a good woman and loving mother, she is weak-willed and

unable to control her personal passions. Whether because of

lust, love, or a desire to maintain her status as queen, she

marries Claudius, though this is clearly a breach of proper

morals. Though some critics have argued that Gertrude might

have been involved in Claudius's plot to kill Old Hamlet,

evidence in the text suggests that she is unaware of and

uninvolved in the plot.

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Character Profile- Polonius

Polonius — The Lord Chamberlain of Denmark, and the father

of Laertes and Ophelia, whom he loves deeply and wishes to

protect, even to the point of spying on them. Polonius is

pompous and long-winded, and has a propensity to scheme, but

without Hamlet's or Claudius's skill. He is very aware of his

position and role, and is always careful to try to be on the good

side of power.

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Character Profile- Laertes

Laertes — Polonius's son and Ophelia's brother. Laertes is

hotheaded and passionate, and loves his family deeply. As a

man prone to action rather than thought who also seeks to

revenge the death of his father, he serves as a "double" to

Hamlet, providing numerous points of comparison.

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Character Profile- Ophelia

Ophelia — Polonius's daughter, Laertes's sister, and Hamlet's

love. As a woman, Ophelia must obey the men around her and is

forced by her father first to stop speaking to Hamlet and then

to help spy on him. Ophelia's loyalty to her father and resulting

estrangement from Hamlet ultimately causes her to lose her

mind. Though Laertes and Fortinbras are the characters

usually seen as Hamlet's "doubles," Ophelia functions as a kind

of female double of Hamlet—mirroring Hamlet's half-madness

with her own full-blown insanity, and takes his obsession with

suicide a step further and actually commits it.

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