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Hamlet, the title character and protagonist of the play, is the troubled young prince of Denmark. Although someone of his station may seem to be powerful and free, we see that he is not. Instead, he is put under extreme pressure and constraints as a result of his grief...

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Hamlet, the title character and protagonist of the play, is the troubled young prince of Denmark. Although someone of his station may seem to be powerful and free, we see that he is not. Instead, he is put under extreme pressure and constraints as a result of his grief and supernatural visitation.

Throughout the story, we frequently get a glimpse of the analytical way in which Hamlet approaches the world. He is constantly trying to get to the truth of matters. This applies not only to the facts behind his father's death but to the actual nature of what it means to be a human and alive. The royal court at Elsinore is one of show, subterfuge, and deception. Hamlet, ever an idealist, wants to pull back the curtain of palace intrigue and expose the truth.

Through his numerous soliloquies, the audience really gets to know Hamlet and his thoughts. Hamlet is never free to speak his mind to the other characters. He feels compelled to play the part of a dutiful prince and son. Yet, when he directly addresses the audience, we see that he is a greatly conflicted young man. These conflicts revolve around a desire for revenge versus taking another's life, his mother's sexuality, and familial duties. It is no wonder that Hamlet appears mentally unbalanced. As an audience, we are often left to wonder just how much control over his faculties Hamlet actually has.

These internal conflicts lead to a great deal of indecisiveness. He struggles with making bold choices and instead frequently resorts to half-measures which just lead to more turmoil.

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Hamlet is the prince of Denmark. He's the hero of the play of the same name, and a guy in a heck of a situation: his uncle killed Hamlet's father (the king), and then married Hamlet's mother, and his father's ghost wants him to take revenge. The entire play follows him as he works through this supernatural mission of justice.

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Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, is the title character of William Shakespeare's longest and arguably most influential play. The tragedy has been continuously retold for four centuries in nearly every corner of the world, with a seemingly endless ability to be endowed with new life and energy. 

So what makes this play—and this character—so staggeringly monumental?

The brief plot synopsis is as follows. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, returns home to find his father dead and his mother Gertrude already remarried to his untrustworthy Uncle Claudius. Suspecting foul play, Hamlet's suspicions are confirmed when his father's ghost visits the castle and tells Hamlet of his murder by his brother Claudius. This spurs Hamlet's long and labyrinthine quest to gather evidence against his uncle and enact his revenge. The play ends with a gargantuan body count, including the death of Hamlet himself, as well as nearly every other major character in the play. 

The themes of the play are existential and academic. Hamlet is a master of words, and nearly drives himself mad with his own indecisiveness ("To be or not to be, that is the question..."). His doubt, his confusion, and his emotion create a mountain of missteps. 

Hamlet is a complicated character. He is not exactly a hero, nor is he a villain. He is a tortured academic trying to do right by his family. And the nuances of this character are what have allowed endless reinterpretation and analysis. 

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Hamlet is the Prince of Denmark, son of the late King Hamlet and Queen Gertrude.  His mother, however, remarried shortly after his father's death, and his new step-father is actually his uncle (his father's brother), Claudius.  Hamlet is a student at the university in Wittenberg, and he is still very much in mourning over the loss of his father and the hasty remarriage of his mother.  He is very close friends with Horatio and, at the beginning of the play, the lover of Ophelia.  It is the ghost of Hamlet's dead father whose appearance so alarms the sentinels at the beginning of the play and initiates the action.  His father's ghost charges him to seek revenge on Claudius for murdering him with poison in the garden, and it is this instruction, to exact revenge on his father's murderer, that motivates Hamlet for the remainder of the play.

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