Hamlet Test: Characters

Hamlet The prince of Denmark. A character of contradictions (admires characters who behave passionately and violently for no good reason, but he himself is thoughtful, reflective, and philosophical)
King Hamlet The dead king who was Hamlet’s father and was murdered by Claudius. Appears to his son in ghost form multiple times urging him to avenge his death
Claudius Hamlet’s Uncle and the villain of the play. Current King of Denmark. Adept to manipulating others for his own good and is willing to kill to stay in power. He doesn’t understand Hamlet’s motives, but is quick to perceive Hamlet as a threat and take decisive action against him. His feelings for Gertrude seem sincere.
Gertrude The Queen of Denmark and Hamlet’s mother. We never observe Gertrude on her own. Hamlet sees her as week, depraved, and motivated by lust.
Polonius The Lord Chamberlain of Claudius’s court, and father of Laertus and Ophelia. He has good intentions, but is conniving and underhanded. Leaps to the wrong conclusions, and his speeches are extraordinarily long winded and roundabout.
Horatio Hamlet’s close college friend. Hamlet trusts him above all other characters. Hamlet values him for his even temper and equanimity (qualities he despises in himself) He is loyal and helpful to Hamlet and is the sole survivor at the end of the play to tell Hamlet’s story
Ophelia Polonius’s daughter, and Hamlet’s love interest. Sweet and innocent, strives to obey her father and brother. When her father dies, her sanity unravels and she paints pictures of sexually exploitative unfaithful young men and implies condemnations of Claudius and Gertrude
Laertes Polonius’s son, he spends much of the play in France. He is passionate and quick to action. Hamlet’s FOIL CHARACTER.
Fortinbras The young prince of Norway whose father the king (also Fortinbras) was killed by Hamlet’s father. Now Fortinbras wants to attack Denmark to avenge his father’s honor. Another FOIL for Hamlet. Hamlet admires Fortinbras for his willingness to fight for no reason
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Two slightly bumbling courtiers and former friends of Hamlet from College (wittenberg) who are summoned upon by Claudius and Gertrude to discover the cause of Hamlet’s strange behavior. which, they never do.
Osric The foolish courtier who summons Hamlet to his duel with Laertes. His speeches are pretentious and difficult to understand. Hamlet does not like him and he is very agreeable.
Voltimand and Cornelius The courtiers who Claudius sends to Norway to persuade the King to prevent Fortinbras from attacking
Marcellus and Barnardo The officers/guards who first see the ghost walking the ramparts of Elsinore and who summon Horatio to witness it. Marcellus is present when Hamlet first encounters the ghost.
Reynaldo Polonius’s servant whom he sends to france to check up on and spy on Laertes

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