Hamlet Characters and Quotes

Hamlet Prince of Denmark, melancholy, bitter, cynical, full of hatred for uncle’s scheming and disgust for mother’s sexuality. Reflective, thoughtful, often indecisive and hesitant, but also prone to rash impulsive acts. Concerned about his own motives. (Killed by Laertes, poisoned sword)
Claudius King of Denmark, Hamlet’s uncle, villain of the play. Ambitious politician driven by sexual appetites and lust for power, occasionally shows signs of guilt and human feelings. (Killed by Hamlet)
Gertrude Queen, Hamlet’s mother. Loves Hamlet, but is a shallow, weak woman who seeks affection and status. (Killed by poisoned glass from Laertes and Claudius)
Polonius Lord Chamberlain of Claudius’s court, pompous conniving old man. Father of Laertes and Ophelia (Killed by Hamlet when most likely thought to be Claudius)
Horatio Hamlet’s closest friend, loyal and helpful, Horatio remains alive to tell Hamlet’s story after Hamlet dies (Survives to tell the tale)
Ophelia Polonius’ daughter, Hamlet’s in love with her. Sweet and innocent, she obeys her father and brother. Dependent on men to tell her how to behave. Lapses into madness and death after her father dies. Drowns in river amidst the flowers she gathered. (Kills herself)
Laertes Polonius’s son and Ophelia’s brother, spends much of the play in France. Passionate, quick to action. (Killed by Hamlet in Duel)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Friends of his from school called upon by Claudius and Gertrude to see what is going on with Hamlet and to spy on him. (Ultimately killed in a trap set by the king, a trap that was meant to kill Hamlet.)
Marcellus Guard that saw Hamlet’s father’s ghost. He is the one that says, “There is something rotten in the state of Denmark.
Fortinbras The King of Norway that came to invade Denmark
Hamlet “To be or not to be, that is the question! Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep no more.”
Polonius “Brevity is the soul of wit”
Hamlet “Frailty thy name is woman.”
Polonius “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.”
Hamlet “…there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

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