Hamlet Essay, Research Paper
Hamlet: Character Analysis
In the beginning of Shakespeare?s Hamlet, Hamlet, the protagonist, could not be
more well-off. Not only is he the son of the king, he is young and educated as well. One
would look at him and perceive him to be very emotionally stable. Things drastically
begin to change as soon as he learns of his father?s death. All of his great achievements as
a scholar as suddenly not as important to him after this bad news. Immediately he
becomes greatly filled with grief and his personality is changed forever. He goes from
being a man of intelligence to being a man of revenge.
All who know Hamlet are very well aware of his nobility, intelligence and
seemingly good personality. The university which he attends, is the most prestigious in
Wittenburg. His intelligence far exceeds that of any classroom or textbook though. He is
extremely talented at reading far into the relationships of humans. When Horatio, Hamlet?s
dearest friend, is visited by the ghost of Hamlet Sr., he looks to Hamlet for an explanation.
?Let us impart in what we have seen tonight unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life, this
spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him (19).? Thus, Horatio, a highly intelligent man, who is
also highly regarded in society constantly asks Hamlet for assistance. Hamlet?s good
character greatly influences those around him. Ophelia, Hamlet?s lover, constantly
comments on Hamlet?s immense intelligence. ?O? what noble mind is here…(133).?
Those who love him, as well as those who wish for his death, view Hamlet as a man of
intelligence. While plotting Hamlet?s death, Claudius comments on Hamlet?s insightful
skills. Hamlet?s intelligence is shown by his great ability to reasonably solve problems.
?To be or not to be, that is the question…(127).? Unlike most men of his day, Hamlet is
not a man of immediate action. When faced with a dilemma, he will think and look at the
issue from every point-of-view until he makes a decision. This is because he approaches
everything he is faced with from an intellectual perspective. This will leave him very
poorly prepared when the events of the play unfold all-around him.
Hamlet?s intellectual character is transformed before our eyes as bad things begin
to happen to him. The first and most awful thing to happen to him is the death of King
Hamlet. Prince Hamlet greatly idolized his father and is immediately faced with incredible
grief. ?So excellent a king, that was to this Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
that he might not beteem the winds of heaven to visit her face to roughly…(29).? To top
off this immense suffering, Hamlet returns home to find his mother married to his uncle
Claudius. The haste of this marriage outrages and confuses Hamlet. ?Withing a month,
ere yet the salts of most unrighteous tears had left the flushing in her galled eyes, she
married. O, most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets (31)!?
This situation makes Hamlet?s grief far worse. He soon begins to change his outlook on
life as a result of this foul act. Also, his relationship with Ophelia begins to deteriorate.
?Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a
bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness… I did love you
once(131).? Hamlet?s change of heart is a result of his mother?s incestuous marriage to
her brother-in-law. The once noble character of Hamlet is not portraying a facade of
deciet to all those around him. He feels that he cannot trust those once loved and
respected. This is a result of the lies that he is surrounded by. To top things off, Hamlet
learns that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have been spying on him as by order of King
Claudius. ?What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason… an dyet to me, what is
the quintessence of dust? Man delights not me…(103).?