Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Hamlet book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the character development for Hamlet in Act IV?

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write11,401 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

In Act IV Hamlet is becoming, if anything, more erratic and unpredictable in his behavior. Not only has he yet to inflict revenge on Claudius, he's actually beating himself up over it. We see this in Scene 4 when Hamlet wonders how it is that Norwegian soldiers can risk their necks for a meaningless patch of land while he still can't bring himself to finish off Claudius. Ironically, it's other characters in the play such as Claudius and Laertes who show more resolve in planning to kill Hamlet. The young prince's thoughts may be bloody, but his actions—towards Claudius, at any rate—are anything but.

Hamlet's chronic indecision in...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 324 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

malibrarian eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write722 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

nkyra | Student

In the end of the play we can notice that Hamlet's reactions are becoming more obsessed and bitter towards Claudius and his mother. He even starts to speak in a more bitterness tone. Hamlet grows madder when he decides to describe the sexual encounters of his mother more in details: “Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed, /Pinch wanton on your cheek, call you his mouse, /And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses, /Or padding in your neck with his damn’d fingers,” (4.1.182-185).

tal | Student

in Act IV the biggest change in Hamlet is that he recognizes that he is delaying his revenge, and he begins to formulate a plan. This is a big change because previously he was actively delaying, but not directly speaking about his delay, and not forming plans. We can see Hamlet start to change into someone who will eventually act at the end of the play and get his revenge.

We also learn that Hamlet's "madness" is fake, so we see that he does have the ability to lie and pretend, which is what he also hates about others.