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Hamlet & character

When one reads or watches a performance of Hamlet one can not help but form a strong opinion of the tragic character. After all, the play is built around the psyche of a very lost soul and this is quite a compelling experience. The reason it is compelling is because Hamlet truly is tragic because he is a stranger in a strange land. However, the strange land is the nation in which he is the prince of and he is also a stranger within his own family.

This makes the character quite interesting as a character study because the tragic character is quite multifaceted and driven. Sadly, certain internal demons bring the character down due to their overtaking him. That is, Hamlet is driven to avenge the death of his father a difficult task made even more difficult due to the fact his father was murdered by his uncle. In a way, Hamlet becomes his own proverbial worst enemy since he envisions a life where revenge dominates his motivations. Revenge is hardly the best way to guide one’s life.

This is the essence of Hamlet’s tragic nature; his goals are impotent and that is what makes him such a conflicted character. Consider the following statement by Hamlet: I’ll speak to it though Hell itself should gape And bid me hold my peace. This clearly shows a character driven nearly to the point of madness due to an insatiable desire for revenge.. To be willing to travel to hell to arrive at his goals and deliver “peace” to his soul represents as person who is at the breaking point.

Sadly, Hamlet does eventually break and slip into a madness of his own design. This is, of course, why the play is considered a tragedy.


Barnet, S. The Tragedy of Hamlet. New York: Signet, 1998. Jenkins, Harold. (1955) “The Relation Between the Second Quarto and the Folio Text of Hamlet. ” Retrieved 9 April 2008 from http://etext. lib. virginia. edu/etcbin/toccer- sb? id=sibv007&images=bsuva/sb/images&data=/texts/english/bibliog/SB&tag= public&part=5&division=div

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