Prince Hamlet: Character Analysis

Shakespeare's "Hamlet"

Shakespeare wrote the tragic drama "Hamlet" in his canon. Following the demise of King Hamlet, the country of Denmark's most powerful politician, it details the life and difficulties of the main character, Prince Hamlet, and his mother. The play's protagonist's character is portrayed as being complicated and paradoxical through his interactions and struggles.

Prince Hamlet's Love and Sensitivity

Prince Hamlet is a guy of many personalities, some of which veer toward the negative and others toward the positive. Prince Hamlet is frequently regarded as the most intelligent character ever created in literary communities because of his complexity. From the first instance in the play, Hamlet is shown to be a loving figure. Essentially, he is described as having dressed in black and having tousled hair which all signify the grief that beheld him when he learnt of his father's death (Shakespeare 4). The tribulations that he suffers are a consequence of the love that he had for his father.

Prince Hamlet recognizes the loss of a loved one and marks it by subjecting himself to discomfort. His disheveled look is intended to show the sorrow that he has, given the death of his father. Here, he is also shown to be a sensitive character. He acknowledges the poignancy of his loss and in marking it shows great sensitivity. His love is also shown when, in the knowledge that Claudius was deceptive, he makes it his priority to reveal the antagonist's main intentions (Bonnet 1). This is admirable since children should love their parents. The love shared between parent and a child is sacred such that the loss of either should inspire great sorrow.

Respect and Courage of Prince Hamlet

Still, through his actions, Prince Hamlet is shown to be respectful. He is respectful when he engages his mother despite the loathe that he feels for his stepfather and mother's husband, Claudius. Despite his anger at the union between his mother and the conniving Claudius, he chooses to remain at home and away from the school at his mother's request. He is further upset that his mother mourned his father for only a limited amount of time but does not constantly disparage his mother. Likewise, Hamlet is portrayed to be brave and courageous (Shakespeare 55). His intrepidity is seen when he chooses to engage the ghost of his departed father despite the fear that encumbered the initiative. When the ghost refuses to speak to Hamlet, in courage he decides to follow it. Upon hearing of Horatio's reservations, he enquires on what is there to fear.

Prince Hamlet's Intelligence

Hamlet is also shown to be extremely intelligent. Hamlet has a rare ability to discern his environment and determine an intervention that suits the specific needs of the moment. For instance, in trying to determine whether Claudius had killed his father, Hamlet directs the theater to institute the play "The Murder of Gonzalo". Principally, he had hoped to capture Claudius' emotions and discomfort to satisfy his doubts (Hadfield 573). Similarly, he is able to intelligently confuse Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from their initial admiration of kings to admiration for the underprivileged in society. Furthermore, his intellect is also observed when Claudius avoids sparring with him in the fear that he might not be able to counter Hamlet's wit.

Character Weaknesses and Conclusion

Despite his many virtuous features, Hamlet has a series of character flaws. Hamlet is hateful and bitter. He is bitter at his mother for having married his uncle, Claudius, so soon after the death of his father, King Hamlet. Subsequently, he scorns his mother by telling her that "frailty, thy name is woman" (Shakespeare 26). This is a derogatory remark and marks the bitterness that the protagonist had for his mother. Hamlet's actions are hateful towards Claudius. Given his speculation of Claudius' character and true goals, he decides to hate Claudius on the assumption that he might have had something to do with King Hamlet's death.

Equally, Hamlet is a reckless character. He is sometimes shielded from the reality on the implications of his actions before he undertakes them (Jones 13). He does not seek to determine why it is that his mother needed a companion but immediately resorts to disparage both his mother and Claudius for their actions which according to him represent the disrespect that the protagonist had for his father. Hamlet's recklessness is also projected when he shouts at his mother after killing Polonius. He screams that Claudius was nothing like his father and that his mother was wrong for having married the antagonist. His recklessness is not privy to the sense of loneliness that his mother had been forced to contend with after the death of her husband, King Hamlet.

As the most intelligent character of all time, Hamlet displays an innate ability to assess his environment. He exceptionally reviews the truth in society without limiting his examinations to prejudices and stereotypes. His intelligence is also seen in his ability to manipulate people to do his bidding (Shaw 95). He was able to persuade Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to renege on their initial dispositions into a belief that they previously mocked and disparaged. Consequently, he succeeded in having their voyage return to Denmark. This is the mark of a stable mind that is intent on achieving its goals regardless of the impediments that stand in the way. An intelligence of the mind is marked by one's ability to examine the natures and characters of those around him and to engage arguments or inclinations that would endear him to the individuals.

His feigned or unfeigned madness makes it hard for the reader to predict Hamlet's next action (Shaw 93). Hamlet engages different actions in different situations. He issues outbursts in situations that do not warrant it and engages skill to manipulate the characters at his will. It is not easy to discern his thought processes and the stances he will assume in interactions with other characters. Hamlet sees the world lucidly. His melancholy only serves to reinforce his critical nature. For instance, despite the hate that he has for the antagonist, he acknowledges that it would not be prudent to blame all of the social ills on one person. Furthermore, his perception of the world reinforces justice. He is aligned towards the need to engage actions that are not only appropriate but serve to further fairness and equality in society. It is this desire that compels him to postpone Claudius' death until such a time that he was fully convinced that he had played a part in his father's death and that he had selfish ambitions.

In conclusion, Hamlet is often lauded to be the most intelligent character of all time. His contradictory character makes it hard for both the audience and other characters to predict his movements and actions. He projects several character strengths which include intelligence, intrepidity, and love. Still, as a character in the play, Hamlet is shown to be impetuous, bitter, and disrespectful to those that surrounded him.

Works Cited

Bonnet, Nicholas. “The Manipulative Nature of Claudius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Inquiries, vol. 2, no. 2, 2010, pp. 1.

Hadfield, Andrew. “The Power and Rights of the Crown in Hamlet and King Lear: The King-The King’s to Blame.” Review of English Studies, vol. 54, no. 517, 2003, pp. 566-586.

Jones E. Hamlet and Oedipus. W. M. Norton, 1949.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Dover Publications, 1992.

Shaw A. B. “Depressive illness delayed Hamlet’s revenge.” Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 28, 2002, pp. 92-96.

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