What does the quote "character is destiny" mean in reference to  the play Hamlet?

Expert Answers
Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Think about different characters and how their "character" or personality affects their fate.

For example, Polonius is a sneak and a gossip. It is fitting that he meets his end hiding behind a curtain.

Gertrude and Claudius have a conspiratorial character. They die by their own plans gone awry.

Hamlet is extremely intelligent, but he takes too long to make a decision. Part of his character is thoughtful weighing of consequences, and also a need to "be sure" of things. This is the reason he sets up the "Moustrap" play and also why he doesn't kill Claudius when he has a chance. This character trait will not serve him well in a situation that calls for swift action.

arjun | Student

The sufferings of hero leading to the disaster do not come only from above, but it is the result of his action. It means the character is not alone responsible, but there is an other mysterious power pushes him to end. it is true that the character has defects that`swhy tragedy occurs. Hamartia that is occurring in the character is not alone responsible for down fall and death, but there is fate as a power, uncontrollable to human beings, plays a dynamic role. So it is a mysterious power.
In Hamlet there is a mysterious power in shape of the Ghost that violates his hopes and instigates him to take vengeance. It’s repeatedly intercession ascertaining our feelings about the interference of fate. Now Hamlet makes mind to kill and he gets chance, but Claudius is in prayer. The fate comes in the shape of prayer and Hamlet abandons to kill him because he will travel to heaven. The murder of Polinus and the Hamlet’s coming back after meeting the pirates.
Fate makes irresolution in hero. Now it is clear that fate pushes the prince to difficulty, where as the character hesitates to act promptly. It is his tragic flaw that is on delay and irresolution.
See at the end, the several characters including hero become the prey of death at the same time. The queen takes poisoned drink unknowingly, the exchange of weapons that is the game of destiny. The fate sits on the chair and characters are puppets to it are operated by it. So, character is destiny.