January 2, 2012
AP Literature, 1
Hamlet Character Analysis
The Character of Prince Hamlet
Throughout his play, Hamlet, Shakespeare throws challenging life questions at his readers. He forces his readers to wonder about humanity, the meaning of life, and the differences between revenge and justice. From the beginning of the play, readers can see Hamlet struggle to answer these types of questions for himself. As he goes on his journey to avenge the death of his father, the former King of Denmark, Hamlet proves to be one of the most humanlike characters and a deep thinker. All this aside, Hamlet also has a darker side to him. He chooses to explicitly tell others of his discontentment and depression.
For many, when hearing news of their father’s death as Hamlet did, initial thoughts would be to quickly act in order to get revenge. Prince Hamlet breaks this mold. Instead of immediately going to his Uncle Claudius, he chooses to prove Claudius’ guilt before he takes any sort of action. In the beginning of the play, Hamlet chooses to think things through instead of letting his emotions drive his decisions. One of the earliest instances of this is the first time Hamlet meets the Ghost, his father. Immediately, Hamlet feels an emotional connection to the Ghost that for many, would be enough proof. But Hamlet takes the time to question the Ghost, saying, “Let me not burst in ignorance, but tell why thy canonized bones, hearsed in death, have burst their cerements; why the sepulcher, wherein we saw thee quietly interred, hath opened his ponderous and marble jaws to cast upon thee again” (I, iv, 49-54). He goes on to ask, “With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls? Say why this? Wherefore? What should we do?” (I, iv, 59-60). Hamlet almost appears to be thrown off by the presence of his father’s ghost. He logically is aware that seeing a ghost makes no sense, but his emotions are telling him quite the opposite. By the end of the scene, Hamlet...