Hamlet Character Sketch
As the character, Hamlet, dominates the play, his unending mental burdens of choosing right from wrong, procrastinating through inaction, and his reliance on passion instead of reason, lends the tragedy its philosophical and spiritual dimensions. Shakespeare has elevated Hamlet above the simple figure of an avenger by proving he is an intellectual aristocrat. As a scholar and a thinker, Hamlet often reveals the high quality of his mind, pondering many weighty matters. He is also a perceptive student of drama and obviously well read in the classics.
Hamlet is portrayed as a noble and sensitive hero, a gentleman with “the glass of fashion and the mould of form" (Act III, Scene 1). His refinement is evidenced when he criticizes Claudius for his drunkenness. His sensitivity is seen in his horror over his mother's too rapid remarriage to the new king (Act 1 Scene II). His humility is seen in his love for Ophelia; he cares little for the fact that she is socially beneath him (Act III, Scene 1). And the respect other’s show for him is refined when Claudius states, “Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go” (Act III, Scene 1).
Hamlet is, however, a tragic hero and victim of his own actions. When the play begins, Claudius has already violated the natural order of the kingdom, and Hamlet, although profoundly disturbed, is only partially aware of the evil that has been perpetrated by his new stepfather. Although he shows weaknesses, Hamlet never has a part in the creation or evolution of evil in the play. His fatal flaw is his procrastination over avenging his father's death. Although he finally achieves vengeance and justice, it is at a terrible cost, for every major character is killed as a result of Hamlet's past hesitations and unwillingness to reach a decision.
Hamlet is deeply disillusioned by his mother's incestuous marriage to his uncle and full of grief at his father's sudden death. He is so saddened with life that he sees...
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