Hamlet Character Analysis: Hamlet
One aspect that makes William Shakespeare’s Hamlet alluring is how he broke the limiting mold of the one-dimensional character by representing characters in all of their human complexity. Hamlet, for example, is a compelling character because he is complicated. As Hamlet himself observes early in the play in, “Tis not alone my inky cloak/nor customary suits of solemn black, /Nor…forced breath/No, nor the fruitful river in the eye, /Nor the dejected ‘havior of the visage…/with all forms, moods, and shapes of grief, /That can denote me truly” (1.2.80-86). Hamlet insists that he is an individual with many psychological and philosophical facets, though he himself will demonstrate difficulty in understanding and accepting all of his layers. Throughout the course of the play, Hamlet reasserts his complexity and cautions the other characters against reducing him to a single, predictable type. The lesson that Shakespeare conveys, then, is that human beings are both good and bad, and that their complexity should not be negated, but rather explored.
On the one hand, Hamlet is a character who is very much driven by emotion and impulse. After his father’s ghost reveals his dark secret, Hamlet declares that he will “wipe away all trivial fond records,/All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past/And thy commandment all alone shall live/Within the book and volume of my brain,/Unmixed with baser matter” (1.5.106-111). Hamlet understands that he is the one who needs to see through his father’s wish, though he curses this responsibility. Hamlet commands Horatio and Marcellus, who witnessed the ghost’s revelation, to avoid acknowledging him, and to swear on his sword to not speak of what they have seen. Once Hamlet has dedicated himself to this singular task of avenging his father’s death, other people find it increasingly difficult to relate to Hamlet because he has become complex in a way...