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Hamlet | Character Analysis

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1064 words Published: 16th May 2017

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In the play, Hamlet: Prince of Denmark by Shakespeare, Hamlets soliloquies reveals much about his character. From to the beginning to the end of the play, Hamlet’s soliloquies reveal that he is virtuous and he is a man with courage, but is quite indecisive. In the beginning Hamlet expresses that he is reluctance and indecisive. Towards the end of the play, Hamlet still shows a constant sign of being reluctance. However, there are other traits that shine through from his soliloquies. Towards the end, Hamlet shows that his is an honorable man, but at the same time he is not a genuine man. These characteristics are explored through Hamlet’s various ways of insulting himself for not acting on his beliefs. Hamlet needs constant reassurance from others that he is choosing the right path and proceedings with the correct actions.

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Hamlet’s first appearance in the play and his early soliloquies show signs of a human without any emotional or feelings. Once Hamlet is notified about the new King of Denmark; Hamlet expresses to his uncle, “how weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on’t! ah fie! ’tis an unweeded garden” (1.2.135-137). Hamlet explains that the world seems to him to be quite meaningless, now that his mother is married to his uncle. However, soon after, in the same soliloquies; Hamlet speaks insensitively of his mother. He expresses extreme sorrow towards his mother’s choice to marry his uncle. Hamlet expressed his true feelings regarding his mother’s poor choice, “married with my uncle, my father’s brother, but no more like my father than I to Hercules…” (1.2.153-154). He claims that his mother disgraces his father’s name. He is quite depressed over the loss of his father and his mother’s quick marriage to his uncle. Hamlet believes that no one will ever be as great as his father. He contrasts his father to his uncle, saying that Claudius and King Hamlet have nothing in common; similar to himself and Hercules. In away, Hamlet is insulting himself; showing a sign of insecurity. The fact that Hamlet is contrasting himself to Hercules, who display a symbol of intellectual and physical strength; he implies that he lacks self worth and self esteem. Hamlet also shows a sign of a man with honor. He shows a sign of virtuous as he expresses his feelings regarding Gertrude’s marriage, “O, most wicked speed, to post, with such dexterity to incestuous sheets! It is not nor it cannot come to good, but break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue” (1.2.158-161). Hamlet must restrain from revealing his true feelings because he is afraid to hurt his bother. However, this decision shows that Hamlet is reluctance fix what he believes is wrong. Hamlet believes that he should not say or do anything about his mother’s relationship with his Uncle. He cannot express his true feelings. Even though, he sees this as a betrayal to his father. Hamlet appears to be indecisive because he will not act as he wishes, despite what he believes. After speaking to his father’s ghosts, Hamlet discovered new and profound dedication, “… my sinews, grow not instant old, but bear me stiffly up. Remember thee! Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat. In this distracted globe. Remember thee! Yea, from the table of my memory I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records” (1.5.94-99). In this soliloquy, Hamlet is exhibiting courage by agreeing to follow the ghost’s order. Hamlet is telling himself to hold to his father’s ghost’s commandment and to drop all other distractions from his mind.

As the play begins to reach its raising action, Hamlet contemplates the purpose of life, “to be, or not to be: that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer. The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of trouble…” (3.1.64-67). Hamlet is still showing qualities of an indecisive human being. He cannot decide whether it is better to live with suffering or to die and not know what is going to happen. This soliloquy also shows a positive side of Hamlet’s characteristics. Hamlet expresses, “that the dread of something after death, the undiscovered country from whose bourn. No traveler returns, puzzles the will and makes us rather bear those ills we have, than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all. And thus the native hue of resolution…” (3.1.88-92). This soliloquy also shows that Hamlet is a man of reason. He sees that it is better to live and suffer than to die and not know what is going to happen. He is not completely indecisive or reluctant about what choices to make. He is able to contemplate the questions and the issues surrounding the questions; which will lead him to successfully make a choice. As the play beings to reach its climax, Hamlet still shows signs of indecisiveness. Even though at times, he shows signs of being a man with honor and virtue; the indecisive and reluctant in him gets worst. Hamlet plans to carry out the ghost’s wish. However, he acts one way, but feels differently in his heart. This reveals that Hamlet is not a genuine person, as he expresses, “…now he is a-praying, and now I’ll do’t. And so he goes to heaven, and so am I revenged. That would be scanned: A villain kills my father, and for that I, his sole, son, do this same villain send to heave. Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge” (3.3.77-84). Hamlet is not able to carry out the ghost’s wish because he is indecisive. For this reason, Hamlet is disappointed and frustrated with him because he has not taken the granted opportunity to avenge his father’s death by killing Claudius. Soon, Hamlet decides to end his indecisive thoughts on the act of a murderous revenge. Hamlet declares, “o, from this time forth my thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth” (4.4.69-70). His frustration with himself and his lack of action has driven himself to realize that it is his destiny to kill Claudius. No matter what, Hamlet will carry out the ghost’s wish. In this soliloquy, it can be seen that Hamlet’s characteristic improves upon denouement of the play.


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