Hamlet: Character Analysis

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Over the centuries many people have complained that William Shakespeare did an inadequate job of steering the readers of Hamlet to a specific interpretation of each character. Each reader is left to decide the true extent of Hamlet's evil and insane ways or to realize that he clearly is a victim of circumstances beyond his control, therefore declaring him innocent. Because of William Shakespeare's writing style, the reader receives little help in discovering who is truly innocent and who is as guilty as Claudius.

Many scholars agree that Hamlet may be the most complex character presented by any playwright . Over the centuries critics have offered many theories and explanations for Hamlet's actions, but none have sufficiently explained him. Many people view Hamlet as a deeply troubled youth who caused many unnecessary deaths, such as those of Polonius and Laertes. Critics who support this theory point out the cruel actions carried out by Hamlet, one example being the indifferent and boastful way Hamlet describes the ingenious way he had his two good friend, Rosencrantz and Guildentsern killed.

But wilt thou hear now how I did proceed?…I sat down, devised a new commission, wrote it fair. I once did hold it, as our satists do, a baseness to write fair, labored much how to forget that learning, but, sir, now it did me a yeoman's service. Wilt thou know th' effect of what I wrote?…An earnest conjuration from the King, as England was his faithful tributary…that on the view and knowing of the contents, without debatement further more or less, he should those bearers put to sudden death. (Shakespeare 5:228-45)

The way Hamlet treats Ophelia, the woman he supposedly loved, also supports the portrayal of him being a barbarian.
If thou dost marry ,I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery[referring to a brothel], go and quickly,...
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