What is the reason that most actors want to play Hamlet?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the character of Hamlet is seen to be an ultimate acting challenge for any actor.  The ability to display a wide range of emotions, to bring about a sense of complexity to a character that can be so easily misread, and to evoke a sense of empathy from the audience are all reasons why some of the best actors yearn to play the role.  The fact that Hamlet is one of the most modern heroes in that he lives inside his own sense of surmise as opposed to function is another reason why his role is so coveted by actors.  At the same time, there is a certain level of desire to portray a character who is brooding, sad, capable of enduring great hurt and equally possessing the capacity for immense cruelty.  I think that this is what allows an actor to highlight their wide range of talents because the character holds a great deal of intensity in emotions.  Actors like Ralph Fiennes, Laurence Olivier, and Kevin Kline have been intensely attracted to portraying the character of Hamlet because it enabled them to display so much talent in a characterization that requires it.  For this reason, the character is attractive to so many actors.

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