Character Analysis of Hamlet In the play Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, the main protagonist Hamlet changes drastically throughout the play. A ghost of Hamlet’s deceased father shows up and tells Hamlet about how his uncle murdered his father. He also tells Hamlet that he should avenge his father’s death.
He plans and plots about getting revenge against his uncle who killed his father. Hamlet’s decisions along the way caused problems and eventually death. The biggest conflict that Hamlet faces is that he is trying to get rid of the very thing he becomes. At first, Hamlet just wanted to avenge his father, but by the end of the story, he wants the throne. In Act 1, Hamlet’s first line is, “I am somewhat closer to you than a kinsman and I feel less than kindly toward you.” (Shakespeare 21) This reveals that Hamlet is not very fond of his uncle. Later on in Act 1 Hamlet is visited by the ghost of his deceased father.
The ghost tells Hamlet that Claudius, his uncle, murdered him. “But know the truth, you noble young man, the snake that killed your father now wears the crown.” (Shakespeare 55) The ghost also tells him that Claudius seduced Hamlet’s mother. The things that the ghost tells Hamlet starts a character change in him. He starts to plan and figure out a way to get revenge on his father’s death and take the throne for himself.
One of the plans that Hamlet comes up with is “The Mousetrap.” It’s a play that Hamlet writes. In this play, Claudius is portrayed as murdering his father. Hamlet does is to make Claudius feel guilty about what he did in hopes he would come clean about it.
Hamlet gets a chance to kill Claudius while Claudius is praying in his room. “Now I could murder him easily, now that he’s praying…”(Shakespeare 171) But he doesn’t do it because he does not want Claudius to go to heaven. Claudius was praying and asking for forgiveness for what he did and if Hamlet believes if he kills him during this prayer then he would go to heaven. Hamlet’s father was killed while he was sleeping so he wasn’t able to confess his sins, therefore he is in purgatory while his sins burn away.
So instead of killing Claudius right away when he had the chance, Hamlet waits until he is doing something that’s sinful to make sure that he goes to hell. “When the King is in a drunken sleep or raging about, or in an incestuous pleasure of his bed, or swearing while gambling…” (Shakespeare 171) Hamlet again tries to kill Claudius but this time it was by mistaken identity. When Hamlet is talking with his mother, he hears something behind a wall-hanging and he stabs it thinking it was the King. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the King, it was Polonius, the chief counselor of the king.
He was sent by Claudius to spy on Hamlet to keep an eye on him. Hamlet is shocked to see that it was Polonius, but he doesn’t even seem to care that he killed the innocent Polonius. ” You poor, reckless, meddling fool, goodbye! I thought you were the King. Take your fate as it comes.” (Shakespeare 175) This is ironic because Hamlet now has become a murderer just like his uncle the person he is trying to get rid of.
King Claudius finds out about Polonius’ death and tells his son Laertes. The King thinks of a plan on how Laertes can get revenge on his father’s death without any foul play. Claudius remembers that Hamlet has become jealous of Laertes in the past because of his great skill with a sword. Claudius thinks that he he can get Hamlet to fight Laertes it might provide a way for Laertes to kill him. Laertes plans to poison his sword so that if Hamlet gets scratched it will kill him. The King comes up with a backup plan just in case Hamlet wins, he will offer Hamlet a poison cup of wine to celebrate.
In Act 5, scene 1, Hamlet and his friend Horatio are at a graveyard watching the gravedigger dig graves. Hamlet looks at the skulls of the dead and picks one up. The gravedigger tells him that the skull belonged to Yorick, a court jester that Hamlet knew and loved as a young boy. The skull itself is a symbol of death and how death is unavoidable. While Hamlet is holding the skull he ultimately realizes that all men will eventually die, even men such as Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.
” Alexander died, Alexander was buried…” “Imperial Caesar, dead and turned to clay…” (Shakespeare 255) Hamlet agrees to fight Laertes just like Claudius predicted he would. While Hamlet is talking to Horatio he tells him…”I’ll try to win his friendship. But it was clearly the exaggeration of his grief that made me uncontrollably angry.
” (Shakespeare 267) His line that he says is so important. He realizes what he has done and wants to apologize for killing Polonius. Laertes and Hamlet begin their fight. Hamlet wins the first round and the King offers him a drink but he doesn’t accept.
Hamlet’s mother Gertrude drinks the cup instead not knowing that the cup is poisoned and she dies. Laertes and Hamlet fight again and Laertes hits Hamlet in the arm and draws blood. They struggle and exchange swords and Hamlet gets a hit on Laertes and poisons him with his own sword.
Hamlet finds out about the sword being poison and stabs the Claudius and forces him to drink the cup of poison also. A revengeful Hamlet plotted and planned to kill his uncle who killed his father. Because of the choices that he made he caused conflict and death. He ends up murdering an innocent person and in doing so becomes just like his uncle. In the end, Hamlet realizes that death is inevitable and he realizes that his bitterness got the best of him. Bitterness and hate can control our lives and turn us into the very thing that we hate the most.
Unfortunately for Hamlet, he realizes that too late.