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Characters in Hamlet and Claudius Essay

* Themes:
* Certainty and Uncertainty

* Because of all the deceit and theme of appearance and reality, every character is uncertain of who they are and who others are really like. No one knows for sure and is certain who anyone is anymore. * The audience is confused and not sure of the character Hamlet, Gertrude, Ophelia etc are anymore- there are so many attitudes and situations in the play that make these characters uncertain. * Hamlet and his antic disposition- he pretended to be mad but towards the end it also seemed as if he actually went mad.

* It is uncertain that Gertrude is a queen blinded by Claudius and Hamlet or a person who doesn’t care about what happened to King Hamlet and just wants to stay in power. She can also be viewed as an incestuous woman. No one knows for sure anymore. * Ophelia starts out as a distraught girl who is in love with hamlet but then goes crazy when she finds out he ‘doesn’t love her’. It is not certain who Ophelia really is as her character is ambiguous in general. * Appearance and reality

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* King Claudius appears to be good man but in reality he is the murderer of the King Hamlet. Deceitfully and criminally took the throne for himself. * Polonius seems like a loving father but in reality he is a manipulative and deceitful man. * Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two twins who appear to be hamlets friends but in reality they are spies working for Claudius. * Struggle for power

* Claudius murdered King Hamlet to gain power (the throne) * Polonius lies to Ophelia in order to gain a good eye in the favour of the king Claudius- hoping to gain some power.


* Act III Scene 1

* The soliloquy “to be or not to be” is an important one to note as hamlet here ponders on the topic of death. It could possibly be because he feels guilty and angry at what he has done or said up to this point- antic disposition (pretending to be mad and try to kill Claudius in the mean time etc). * He has a powerful and tense relationship with the thought of death and life.

* Act IV Scene IV

* In this soliloquy hamlet questions his own courage and his worth as a man, if he confines to be unwilling to act. He compares his lack of action to Fortinbras and his army who are willing to risk all. * The issue of Hamlet acting too late in killing Claudius ponders hamlets mind, thinking whether it was good to wait or bad to wait or whether it was worth it.


* Hamlet
* Main character, antic disposition, madness, falseness, anger
* Ophelia
* Hamlets lover, goes insane when she finds out that Hamlet doesn’t love her- even though it was a lie and he does.
* Claudius
* Uncle of Hamlet, brother of King Hamlet and murderer of King Hamlet. Remarried Queen Gertrude and gained power to the throne. Hamlets enemy and target on getting revenge on.
* Gertrude
* Mother of hamlet and newly remarried wife of her brother in law King Claudius. Viewed as incestuous. Finds it hard to believe or understand her son Hamlet throughout the play.
* Guildenstern and Rosencrantz

* Twins who were Hamlets childhood friends but turned out to be spies for Claudius.
* Polonius
* Appears to be a loving father to Ophelia and Laertes but really is a manipulative and deceitful man. Yearns to have power like Claudius thus he tries to get on his ‘good’ side.
* Laertes
* Son of Polonius and brother of Ophelia. Does not like the fact that Ophelia loves Hamlet.


* Polonius: “and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell; my blessing season in thee!” he gives Laertes a blessing to go away, he sends a spy to follow him and keep an eye on him lack of trust in people. * Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: “A dream is but a shadow” and “tis as easy as lying; govern these vantages with your finger and thumb, give it breath with your mouth”. In these Acts hamlet can see they are lying and spying on him.

* Claudius: “though yet of Hamlet our dear brother death/ the memory be green, and that it us befitted/ to bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom/ to be contracted in one brow of woe.” Here he speaks kindly only to give the appearance of a loving brother, even though in reality he cares little for the old king. * Hamlet: “ I am but mad north-north- west: when the wind/is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw” hamlet here is very convincing actor for even his own mother. * Gertrude : “ Alas, He’s mad”

* Hamlet and Ophelia : “you should not have believ’d me/I lov’d you not”

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