Is Hamlet a good king ? Justify.looking for good answers

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susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hamlet, had he survived Claudius, most likely would have made a very good king.  He is certainly intelligent enough.  That fact is quite clear when he is able to outsmart Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Polonius, and Claudius.  When each attempts to spy on him, Hamlet is quickly aware and makes their spying backfire on them.

He also knows whom to trust.  He relies on Horatio who is not "passion's slave," to help confirm Claudius' guilt.  Horatio is one who is even tempered, loyal, and sincere.  Unlike the sycophants Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Horatio is honestly devoted to Hamlet. By choosing Horatio as his friend and distancing himself from the king's spies, Hamlet shows that he is a quick study of a person's character, loyalty, and motivation.  Although Hamlet trusts Horatio as a friend, Hamlet thinks independently.  He is the leader in this relationship; Horatio, the loyal follower.   When Hamlet devises the plan to "catch the conscience of the king," Hamlet uses Horatio to verify Claudius' guilty looks as he watches the play.  But Hamlet himself is responsible for the plot itself.

Hamlet would also be a patron of the arts.  He is well versed in drama, able to recite whole speeches from memory.  He knows how a good actor should perform.

Hamlet is quite popular among the people.  One of Claudius' chief reasons for sending Hamlet to England to be killed is the fact that he is so well liked.  We see Hamlet's amiability when he is able to converse with such commoners as the players and the gravediggers as well as the guards at the beginning of the play.

Hamlet admires Fortinbras' actions in being able to take action against Poland.  Yet, he has doubts about the worthiness of such actions:  sending twenty thousand men to their graves over a worthless piece of land, not even large enough to bury all who will die.  We see Hamlet throughout the play admit to his own reluctance to kill.  He does not kill easily or thoughtlessly.  As a man seeking revenge, this kind of thinking might hurt him, but as a king, this type of prudence would keep him out of an unnecessary war.

Finally, from Ophelia we learn what kind of man Hamlet was before he became caught up in his quest for revenge.  She calls him the "rose of the fair state,"  the "courtier, soldier, scholar," "a noble mind."

So we see that Hamlet prefers peace to war, is knowledgeable about people and the arts, is highly intelligent, and is beloved by his countrymen.    He is better qualified than many of our world leaders.


stella-lily-rothe | Student

Hamlet never was a king, unless you are referring to his father, whom we know only as "the Ghost."  The Ghost, according to Hamlet, was a good king, a great father, and a terrific husband to Gertrude.  The kingdom is mourning him when Gertrude marries Hamlet's uncle, and it is immediately clear that King Hamlet was a benevolent and beloved King.

If you're asking, would Prince Hamlet have made a good king, then, in my opinion, I would say perhaps, with time.  Prince Hamlet is the epitome of a youth struggling with inner turmoil, indecision, and the deeper themes of life.  While no one quite knows Prince Hamlet's age, scholars speculate he had to at least be in his late twenties (Yorick's decomposed skull being the clue).  This is the age when many of us begin to delve into the mysteries of life, expressing ourselves with poetry, art, or other expressive forms. 

Had Hamlet became King at the time of his father's death, we can certainly assume that his mind would have been consumed with the same questions he expresses throughout the play.  He had a good head for revenge, but in the end he was not able to carry out his life's goals.  This does not a good king make.

To further complicate Hamlet's hypothetical kingdom, his love for Ophelia and his rash actions would both hinder his level-headedness. 

Had Hamlet lived, he may have grown into being a thoughtful and powerful King.  That would have taken many years, however, for we meet Hamlet as he begins to ask life's difficult questions.  Imagine if he had lived!  Those questions, especially if we presume Ophelia had still died, would have only intensified. 

It's very possible that Hamlet's experiences: losing his father, killing his uncle, the accidental death of his mother, the suicide of Ophelia, and his murder of Polonius - not to mention meeting his father's ghost! - would have filled his head with enough worry to truly drive him mad. 

This is such a fascinating question, and I can imagine talking about the possibilities for hours!  Harold Bloom's essays are indispensible for Shakespeare fans and students, and I recommend the link below.

dlooo3ahady | Student

No I don’t think that Hamlet will be a great king because

He is idealist person so he thinks that he is above the normal people (he is different person – he is a perfect and he has all the good qualities) and then he had a conflict between the real world and how it should be ( when he discover that his uncle killed his father he shocked also when his mother (Getrude, Queen of Denmark) married his uncle (Claudius ) in fast way only after two months from his father death and Hamlet said that even the animal  will be more sad than his mother and the animal will not do that (married very fast) also when Ophelia cheat him by spaying on him when her father and the king Claudius order her to do that and Hamlet  said his famous  speech “Frailty, thy name is woman!”  so I don’t think that he will be a good king because he wants from the things to be a perfect and that doesn’t happen in the real life  also because he is a killer even if we consider Hamlet as a hero, but he kill Polonius ( Ophelia father ) by accident because he thinks that he is the king  Claudius and he hides his body and didn’t allow to anybody to buried him and that lead Ophelia  to become a madwomen because her lover killed her father .

What does Hamlet respect the most in Horatio?

Horatio Hamlet friends and he is the only the Hamlet trust on him so he told for them everything and in the end when Hamlet will die, Horatio want to kill himself , but Hamlet said for him to not do that and to tell his story ( Hamlet story after  his death)

subrataray | Student

Hamlet stands on the border line between reality and idealism .He is prince by his heritage, but, his inborn personality betrays him to be a king. He is again between Brutus and Macbeth .For in his idealism on conscience based morality , he is a Brutus, and for his strong conscience, he is a Macbeth. Moreover he is a poor judge of human character .He sees others as he is .Hence he is not a man of far-sighted view .He can not see the things as they really are .

To be a king one must be shrewd, something –cunning, compromising, and above all realistic .Hamlet lacks all these qualities of a worldly man.


Horatio is Hamlet’s other self , just as the Fool to Lear is .Hence he unlocks himself to Horatio .In him Hamlet finds the simplicity of recognizing he moral-psychology .And hence he respects that genial trait .

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