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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hamlet is by nature a philosopher and a scholar. He is an introvert, in the Jungian sense. He is alone a great deal of the time, and this is because he prefers his own company to that of other people. The only person he seems to like is Horatio, and that is because Horatio is so much like himself. Hamlet is extremely intelligent. He knows at least six different languages--Danish, German, Latin, French, Italian, and English--and has read deeply in all of them. He has a good sense of humor, but it is a kind of humor that is not shared or understood by other people, with the exception of Horatio. Hamlet came to Elsinore from the university at Wittenberg to attend his father's funeral. He didn't know what he was getting into. He found that his uncle had seized the throne and married his mother. Then he encountered his father's ghost and learned that his father had been murdered by his uncle and that it was his obligation to murder Claudius in revenge. Hamlet is a thinker and not a doer. He is contrasted with two quite different young men, Laertes and Fortinbras, who are men of action. Hamlet keeps planning to murder King Claudius but can't actually bring himself to do it. He always retreats into his own thoughts. He is too intelligent and too introspective.