Hamlet (Character Analysis)

(Shakespeare for Students)

The character of Hamlet dominates Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name, yet Hamlet at the start of the play is not a commanding figure....

(The entire section is 871 words.)

Claudius (Character Analysis)

(Shakespeare for Students)

Claudius is the king of Denmark and brother of the dead king, which makes him Hamlet's uncle. Claudius has killed his brother to gain the...

(The entire section is 1010 words.)

Gertrude (Character Analysis)

(Shakespeare for Students)

Gertrude, queen of Denmark, is the widow of the late King Hamlet and the mother of Prince Hamlet, who is the title character of the play....

(The entire section is 782 words.)

Ghost (Character Analysis)

(Shakespeare for Students)

Of the other major characters in Hamlet, the Ghost is important because his demand for revenge sets the plot into motion. The...

(The entire section is 647 words.)

Horatio (Character Analysis)

(Shakespeare for Students)

Horatio is Hamlet's closest friend, a former fellow-student at Wittenberg. Horatio has come to Elsinore from Wittenberg for the funeral of...

(The entire section is 443 words.)

Laertes (Character Analysis)

(Shakespeare for Students)

Laertes is Polonius's son and Ophelia's brother. He has come to Denmark for King Claudius's coronation. In his first appearance in I.ii, he...

(The entire section is 535 words.)

Ophelia (Character Analysis)

(Shakespeare for Students)

Ophelia is the sister of Laertes and the daughter of the king's councillor, Polonius. As I.iii opens, Ophelia has apparently confided to her...

(The entire section is 833 words.)

Other Characters (Descriptions)

Attendants: The king appears in state accompanied by attendants, and attendants wait on various members of Danish court and visitors to the court. Attendants follow the king when he enters or exits a scene. They are sent by the king to look for the body of Polonius. Attendants separate Hamlet and Laertes when they fight at Ophelia's funeral.

Barnardo: Barnardo, with Francisco and Marcellus, is one of the guards of the Danish ruler's castle, Elsinore. He and Marcellus have seen the ghost twice before the opening of the play, and have chosen to tell Prince Hamlet's scholarly friend Horatio about the occurrence. Barnardo speaks the play's first, ominous words: "Who's there?" (I.i.1).

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(The entire section is 1754 words.)