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How To Start Writing Essay on Hamlet Characters?



Hamlet is the protagonist of the play ‘Hamlet’ by Shakespeare. ‘The Prince of Denmark’. When the audience catch him at the initial part of the play, he is projected as a young man of thirty years old. He is the son of late king Hamlet and Gertrude who before the beginning of the play was the Queen of Late Hamlet. Then the nephew of Claudius, after the death of his legitimate father, Hamlet become the son of his uncle aka step father whom his mother Gertrude got married to. Hamlet has been portrayed as cynical, bitter and melancholy. Shakespeare elucidated his heart as one full of hatred towards the scheming nature of his uncle and has also expressed a sense of disgust towards the sexuality of his mother which took a drastic change after the death of the Late king Hamlet. Hamlet has been portrayed by Shakespeare as a thoughtful and reflective young man who has undertaken studies in the University of Wittenberg. However, as an individual he comes with a considerable psycho-pathological attributes of being hesitant as well as indecisive in nature however at other instances he has expressed himself as indecisive as well as rash in the actions that he carried out.


Claudius became the king of Denmark after the death of his brother Late king Hamlet and there has been deliberate suggestions that he has been the root cause of his brother’s untimely and unusual death, joined in conspiracy with Gertrude in order to proclaim the throne. He thereby takes the place of the antagonist in the play and has been portrayed as one who is calculating, ambitious and thereby driven by sexual appetites and uncontrollable lust towards power. However, despite of all the negative suggestions he has been associated with he has shown signs of human feelings of guilt occasionally and the sense of love that he has expressed towards Gertrude appears sincere.

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Gertrude is the mother of Hamlet by birth whose affection towards Hamlet has never ended. She has been married to Claudius recently after the demise of her husband, late Hamlet. She has however been a weak and shallow woman who could not exhibit the strength in her character and thereby seek status and affection as opposed to truth or moral rectitude with a sense of urgency in her behaviour. She is thereby one of the tragic characters in the play.


Polonius carried the title of Lord Chamberline in the court of Claudius’s who is a pompous as well as conniving old man, a close associate of Claudius and ardent supporter of him, perhaps contributed in the killing of Late Hamlet as Hamlet suggests. Polonius is father to Ophelia and Laertes. He advices his daughter against falling in love with Hamlet as he is concerned about her. The family of Polonius in its structured form stands in opposition to the dysfunctional family of Claudius. The happiness intrinsic to the family of Polonius had been reflected in the reaction of Laertes and Ophelia after his murder.


A Character who has been a constant source of support to Hamlet is his close friend Horatio who studied with Hamlet in the university. Horatio has expressed his loyalty and has been helpful towards Hamlet in all throughout the play has been noted for the support that he extended towards Hamlet. Horatio has been deemed helpful and after the death of Hamlet he remained alive in order to narrate stories of Hamlet.

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Ophelia is the daughter of Polonius, a young and beautiful woman who has been deeply in love with Hamlet. She is an innocent and sweet girl who obeys her father and brother. She has been deemed as an individual who is submissive in nature and thereby dependent on men to tell her how she should act. Thereby she gives up to the scheme of Polonius in order to spy on Hamlet. Her maidenly stance remains as she lapse into death and madness and thereby sings song while drowning in the river among the garland of flowers she had gathered.


Laertes is the brother of Ophelia and son of Polonius who is a young manner spending a considerable time in the play being in France. She has been depicted as one who is quick and passionate and thereby acts as a reflection of Hamlet in many of his attributes in the course of the play.


Prince of Norway, young in age had father who was killed earlier by Late Hamlet. Thus, boosted by revenge Fortinbras desires to avenge the death and honour of his father and thereby makes him another foil for Hamlet.


The ghost is the spectre of Late Hamlet who is the father of prince Hamlet and has been deceased recently. The ghost claims that he has been murdered by Claudius and thereby calls upon young Hamlet to avenge his unnatural death. However, the certainty about the appearance of the ghost is not clear to the audience. Hamlets looks up to the ghost as one which has been sent in order to deceive him and thereby tempt him to cause murder. The question regarding the identity of the ghost remains unresolved even at the end of the play.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

They represent two courtiers who are slightly bumbling. Former friend to Hamlet and is being summoned by Claudius to find out the reason behind the strange attributes of Hamlet.


He is a courtier who is foolish and also summons Hamlet in the duel with Laertes

Voltimand and Cornelius

They are the courtiers who have been sent by Claudius across to Norway so that they can persuade Fortinbras from carrying out an attack

Marcellus and Bernardo

They are the first of the officers to encounter the ghost in its walk with ramparts and summon Horatio to be a part of the witness process. In the presence of Marcellus Hamlet encounters the ghost for the first time


Reynaldo is the servant of Polonius who has been sent to France in order to check on as well as spy on Laertes.

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