Hamlet 6 Essay, Research Paper
Hamlet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. Hamlet is the
protagonist of the play and is portrayed as a very emotional soul, a
daring, brave character who has a bad and violent temper.
Hamlet is a very emotional young man. As we all know, his father’s
death was a shock for him and he could not get over it. Claudius mentions
that Hamlet was taking the mourning of his father’s death to extremes:
To give these mourning duties to your father; But you must know,
your father lost a father; That father lost, lost his, and the
survivor bound In filial obligation for some term To do
obsequious sorrow. 1
The King is telling Hamlet that death is only natural and that Hamlet’s
father lost his father too. He is informing Hamlet that he is mourning
too much for his deceased father and he should try to get over it. Another
example of Hamlet’s emotions getting the better of him can be seen when he
is reminiscing his father’s death. Hamlet says, “…How stand I then,/That
have father killed, a mother stained,…2″. He is asking himself what kind
of a person he is if he can allow his father to be murdered and his mother
to be married so soon after his father’s death to his uncle. This shows us
that he is pitying himself and is putting himself down. Yet another example
of his emotions running wild are seen in his first soliloquy:
…She married. 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! 3
He is telling us that his mother has married right away and did not mourn
for his father’s death. He tells us that the marriage is not good and nor
can this marriage between Claudius and Getrude come to any good. He wants
to express his true feelings to his mother, but since it will hurt her, he
must be silent for the time being. This shows us that he has a great and
deep love for his mother. He will not say or do anything to hurt her, even
though what she is doing is wrong.
Hamlet is also a brave and daring character. There are several
examples of his fearless attitude, but I will only discuss the two that I
feel are the most important. The first example occurs when the ghost
visits Hamlet, Horatio and Marcellus. Here Hamlet is determined to meet
If it assume my noble father’s person, I’ll speak to it, though
hell itself should gape And bid me hold my peace. 4
Hamlet wants to speak to the ghost, even though it might be a demon instead
of his father’s spirit. Another example of his bravery is portrayed when
he actually sees the ghost:
HAM. It will not speak. Then I will follow it.
HOR. Do not, my lord!
HAM. Why, what should be the fear? 5
Hamlet is not afraid to follow the ghost and speak with it, despite the
fact that Horatio is telling him not to go. He asks Horatio why he is
stopping him and what is there to be afraid of. Another significant
incident that brings out Hamlet’s daring character is when he arranges for
the players to perform “The Murder of Gonzago” to find out whether or not
the King is guilty of his father’s murder. Hamlet’s plan is, “…The
paly’s the thing/Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King. 6″ He
decides to use the play to test the King’s conscience and if the King seems
nervous or behaves strangely he will know his course from there.(To do what
the apparition told him. Get revenge.)
Hamlet also has a bad and violent temper. This is expressed when the
meeting between Hamlet and Ophelia goes sour:
…You jig, you amble, and you lisp; you nickname God’s creatures and
make your wantonness your ignorance.
Go to, I’ll no more on’t! it hath made me mad. 7
Here he is upset with Ophelia and insults her and tells her that she names
things according to her own fancy and then acts as if her own wilfulness is
ignorance. He says that he has had enough of it and this has made him mad.
Another scene where he expresses his anger is immediately after killing
Polonius and shouts at his mother:
Here is your husband, like a mildewed ear Blasting his wholesome
brother. Have you eyes? Could you on this fair mountain leave to
feed, And batten on this moor? Ha! have you eyes? 8
He is telling Gertrude that her new husband is nothing like Hamlet’s
biological father. How could she leave him after his death and marry
Claudius. Can’t she see what she is doing?
These are three of Hamlet’s character traits as seen in Shakespeare’s
Hamlet. I feel that all these character traits are important, but the most
significant one is the portrayal of his brave and daring character. I feel
that this character trait is the most significant because if Hamlet had not
met with the ghost or set up “The Mousetrap”, the play would not have been
where it is now since he wouldn’t know what happened to his father.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. U.S.A.: Washington Square Press, 1958.
1William Shakespeare, Hamlet (U.S.A.: Washington Square
Press, 1958), I.ii.94-98.