Character Development: Hamlet

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In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the main protagonist, Hamlet experiences a series of events that dramatically change his character. When the audience first meets Hamlet, he is dressed in all black he is portrayed as a sulky, depressed prince. Through the course of the play however, it is revealed that Hamlet as a character has more than one side to him – he is brooding as he is impulsive, and he is vengeful as his is indecisive. The audience sees Hamlet struggling with the death of his father, and the emotional toll of knowing the truth but being unable to exact revenge. This is what essentially changes Hamlet. Because of the constant back and forth of having to act like nothing is wrong and having to suppress his rage towards King Claudius, Hamlet is a markedly different character by the end of Act V. The Hamlet the audience meets in Act I will eventually become the collected, cunning and calculating Hamlet of Act V. Towards the beginning of the play, the court of Denmark comes onto the stage. The audience sees the King and Queen but then they see Hamlet, dressed in black and looking sad. Hamlet’s outward expression of grief is so noticeable that Gertrude makes it a point to tell Hamlet to cheer up. How Hamlet responds is an early indicator of what the prince of Denmark is like: “These indeed seem, For they are the actions that a man might play, But I have that within which passes show; These but the trappings and the suits of woe.” (1.2.83-86) This quote is important since it shows the audience that there are already hints of a deception from Hamlet. He says that the sadness and grief that is on the outside cannot compare to the angst and grief he feels on the inside. The sadness turns into anger and disbelief once Hamlet meets the ghost of the King. He sees the king finds out that Claudius killed the king. Hamlet reacts in the way most humans would react; with anger and contempt for Claudius. However, something that makes Hamlet different is how he chooses to go...
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