Hamlet, Prince of Denmark - The protagonist. Hamlet is not happy about his uncle's marriage to his mom especially so close to his father's death. Be question - is he crazy or just acting that way?
King Hamlet - Dead at the beginning of the play, but appears as a ghost and demands vengence upon his murder. Big question - can you trust him?
King Claudius - King Hamlet's brother. He marries his brother's wife soon after Hamlet's death.
Queen Gertrude - Hamlet's mom. She marries her brother-in-law (Claudius) shortly after her husband's death.
Polonius - The Lord Chamberlain. He is an advisor to the king and father of Ophelia and Laertes. He is very controlling. He does not trust Ophelia with Hamlet and does not trust Laertes off at France.
Laertes - Polonius's son and Ophelia's brother. He cares a lot for Ophelia (in a protective big brother way). He does not think that Hamlet really loves his sister and tells her to stay away from him. he blames Hamlet for bad things that happen in the play.
Ophelia - She is Polonius's daughter and sister to Laertes. She loves Hamlet and does not understand Hamlet's actions since he does not confide to her.
Reynaldo - Laertes friend who was sent by Polonius to France in order to spy on Laertes.
Horatio - Hamlet's true friend. He is the one who brings Hamlet to see his father's ghost.
Rosencrantz - Hamlet's friend who is sent to spy on him. Always seen with Guildenstern. Could be seen as "Dumb."
Guildenstern - Hamlet's friend who is sent to spy on him. Always seen with Rosencrantz. Could be seen as "Dumber."
Marcellus - A guard on watch duty who sees the ghost.
Bernardo - A guard on watch duty who sees the ghost
Francisco - A guard on watch duty that does not see the ghost.
Gravedigger - Uh...he digs graves.
Yorick - The famous skull that Hamlet talks to belonged to Yorick. Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well...
Sexton - Just a title for a servant. Nothing dirty...
Fortinbras - He lives in Norway. His father (also called Fortinbras) was killed by King Hamlet. Just like Prince Hamlet, Fortinbras did not become king, his uncle did instead. Fortinbras wants his father's lands, which were seized by King Hamlet, to be returned and has raised an army. Near the beginning of the play, everyone is getting ready for a possible invasion by Fortinbras army. The king of Norway, however, promises that he will only allow Fortinbras to attack Poland. Fortinbras is a mirror of Hamlet in many ways.
The Players - A traveling group of actors that helps Hamlet test Claudius. They produce a play called The Mousetrap.
The Churlish Priest - He refuses any burials for suicides.
Voltimand - Sent by Claudius to Norway to prevent war.
Cornelius - A royal kiss up.
Osric - A foppish and foolish royal kiss up.
A gentleman - A royal kiss up so unimportant, he doesn't even get a name.
Another Hamlet Character Guide
Did you know?
You may be quoting from Hamlet and not knowing it!
The following famous quotes are from Hamlet:
"Sick at heart" - Francisco I. i.
"Not a mouse stirring" - Francisco I. i.
"Frailty, thy name is woman!" - Hamlet I. ii.
"In my mind's eye" - Hamlet I. ii.
"Foul play" - Hamlet I. ii.
"To thine own self be true" - Polonius I. iii.
"Something is rotten in the
state of Denmark"
"Murder most foul" - Ghost I. v.
"One may smile, and smile, and be a villain" Hamlet I. v.
"There are more things in heaven
and earth, Horatio,
"Brevity is the soul of wit" - Polonius II. ii.
"Though this be madness, yet
there is method in't"
"The devil hath power t' assume
a pleasing shape"
"The play's the thing" - Hamlet II. ii.
"To be, or not to be, that is the question" - Hamlet III. i.
"Get thee to a nunnery" - Hamlet III. i.
"The lady doth protest to much,
"Sweets to the sweet!" - Gertrude V. i.
"The dog will have his day" -Hamlet V. ii.
Click below to read the comic
The famous "To be, or not to be" speech:
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
"To be, or not to be" in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn
To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin
This rendition is by the Duke and mixes up many parts of Hamlet and quite a few from Macbeth. Nonetheless, in true form, Huck thinks he is a genius.
Green Eggs and Hamlet
I ask to be or not to be.
Prince Omelet, from Veggie Tales: Kyle the Friendly Viking. Click the picture to play a game to help Omelet find his eggs, "light and fluffy," just the way he wants them.
A man might pass for insane who should see things as they are. ~William Ellery Channing
Today I felt pass over me
When we remember we are all mad, the
mysteries disappear and life stands explained. ~Mark Twain
There was this king nodding
I've been killed and it's your duty
So wi all except Horatio
Took the mickey oot Polonius
Hamlet, Hamlet, acting balmy
Then Hamlet wrote a scene for
So Hamlet's got the proof that Claudius
Then when Hamlet killed Polonius
Meanwhile Laertes heard his dad had been
Hamlet, Hamlet, there's no messin'
Then Laertes lost the place and was
And to make things double sure
Then Hamlet's mummy drank the wine and
He stabbed him with the sword and forced
Hamlet, Hamlet, end of story
& Ways to Look Smarter in Class
Symbolism of Ophelia's Flowers
Flowers are very symbolic. Since Shakespeare mentions many flowers by name, we should look into their significance:
First, check the flowers she gives away in act Act IV scene v:
|Rue||sorrow and repentance|
Here are the flowers around
her as she drowns:
The Hamlet Test:
You will have to memorize Some or all of the "To be or not to be" soliloquy for a section of the test worth 15 points.
For 20 points (encompassing 5 points extra credit) learn lines 56 -
One of the test questions (an essay question at that), is:
Is Hamlet mad or is he just acting insane? Give evidence from the text to support your answer.
I expect this answer to be a full essay, not just a paragraph. You may want to use the following information to help get you started:
The YES, HE IS MAD side:
Hamlet’s behaviour throughout the play, especially towards Ophelia is very erratic.
He professes to be the only one who truly loves
her, during the fight with Laertes in Ophelia's grave, but he tells her
that he never loved her, when she returns his letters and gifts.
He jumps aboard a pirate ship without anyone to back him up.
He jumps into Ophelia's grave, and fights with Laertes in her grave.
He has Rosencrantz and Guildenstern killed, even
though they were not part of his revenge-against-his-father's-murder plan.
He has violent outbursts towards his mother.
Hamlet tells Laertes that he killed Polonius in a "fit of madness". [Act V, Scene ii, lines 236-250]
He kills Polonius and will not tell anyone where the body is.
The NO, HE IS SANE side:
Hamlet's madness only manifests itself when he is in the presence of certain characters. When Hamlet is around Polonius, Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, he behaves irrationally. When Hamlet is around Horatio, Bernardo, Francisco, The Players and the Gravediggers, he behaves rationally.
Claudius confesses that Hamlet's "actions although strange, do not appear to stem from madness." [Act III, Scene i, lines 165-167]
Polonius admits that Hamlet's actions and words have a "method" to them; there appears to be a reason behind them, they are logical in nature. [Act II, Scene ii, lines 206-207]
Hamlet's madness in no way reflects Ophelia's true
madness, his actions contrast them.
Hamlet believes in his sanity at all times. He never doubts his control over psyche.
All of the above information came from:
Honors - it would be good for you to know what the famous quotes listed on this page mean and who said them as well as what the flowers symbolize.
The Klingon Hamlet
"You have not experienced Shakespeare, until
you have read him in the original Klingon." Thus speaks Chancellor
Gorkon, in the film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. For some viewers
the line produced hearty chuckles and knowing nods. Among others it served
For too long, readers throughout the Federation have been exposed to
The Tragedy of Khamlet, Son of the Emperor of Qo'nos, that classic work
of Klingon literature, only through inadequate and misleading English
translations. Now at last, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Klingon
Language Institute, this powerful drama by the legendary Klingon playwright,
Wil'yam Shex'pir, can be appreciated in the elegance and glory of its
This invaluable volume contains the complete text of the play, along with an English translation for easy consultation and comparison. In addition, an incisive introduction explains the play's crucial importance in Klingon culture, while copious notes illustrate how the debased English version diverges from the original, often distorting and even reversing the actual meaning of the verses.
Khamlet, the Restored Klingon Version, is a work that belongs in the library of every human who hopes truly to understand what it means to be Klingon.
Will The Real Hamlet Please Stand Up?
This play, like most of Shakespeare's works, was a story already in existence, Shakespeare just spruced it up a bit (a lot like how Disney makes their movies). Hamlet is no exception.
The real Hamlet may have been a bloke by the name of Amlethus, a prince written about in Historia Danica by Saxo Grammaticus (cool name). This was written in the 1200s and is based more on legend than history.
In 1576, François de Belleforest, wrote Histoires Tragiques. This is probably the work that Shakespeare was probably the most familiar. Belleforest pulled from the story of Amlethus and has the names of the characters that Shakespeare uses in his play. The difference in the two is that everyone knows that Claudius killed King Hamlet (according to Claudius, King Hamlet was about to kill Gertrude). Prince Hamlet pretends to be mad so that Claudius won't kill him. Claudius is trying to prove that Hamlet is really sane so that he can kill him in good standing (bad to kill crazy people, you know).
This is a small picture of The Globe Theatre. Click on it to see the image larger.
The above image came from a brochure for the Globe Theatre America located in Alexander Mills, NC. However, there is no web address for this place and every link I follow to it or to a page about it in the Rutherford County tourism department end up broken. I wonder if it still exists. Does anyone out there have information for me? Let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following comes from Wikipedia. You can click the link and read the full article:
Layout of the Globe
At the base of the stage, there was an area called the 'yard' where people (the "groundlings") would stand to watch the performance. Around the yard were three levels of seating, which were more expensive than standing: the first two were called the Twopenny Rooms and the top level was called the Penny Gallery.
A rectangular stage platform thrust out into the middle of the open-air yard. This stage measured roughly 40 feet wide and 30 feet deep. On this stage, there was a trap door for use by performers to enter from beneath the stage; the area beneath the stage was known as the 'cellarage'. There was a second trap door in the back of the stage that was used for the same purpose. Often the area beneath the stage is also called 'hell,' since supernatural beings such as the ghost in Hamlet enter and exit the stage from this area.
On two sides of the stage were large columns supporting a roof over a portion of the stage. This ceiling was called the 'heavens', and was probably painted with images of the sky. A trapdoor in the heavens enabled performers to 'fly' or descend using some form of rope and harness.
The back wall of the stage consisted of three doors on the first floor and a balcony on the second. The doors entered into the 'tiring house' (backstage area) where the actors dressed and awaited their entrances. The balcony housed the musicians and could also be used for scenes requiring an upper space, such as the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet. In addition, it could be used as the 'Lord's Room', where higher-paying audience members could pay to be seated -- more to be seen than to see the play, since they would have been behind the performers.
The first Globe burned to the ground in 1613, apparently by flaming material expelled from a cannon used for special effects during a performance of Henry VIII that ignited the thatched roof of the gallery. It was rebuilt immediately, this time with a tiled roof, and reopened in July of the following year.
Like all the other theatres in London, the Globe was closed down by the Puritans in 1642. It was destroyed in 1644 to make room for tenements. Its exact location remained unknown until remnants of its foundations were discovered in 1989 beneath Anchor Terrace on Southwark Bridge Road. There may be further remains beneath Anchor Terrace, but the eighteenth century terrace is listed and may not be disturbed by archaeologists.
Elizabeth Siddal posed for this picture by John Everett Millais in the early 1850s. He was one of the Pre-Ralphaelite Brotherhood, a group of painters that tried to reformt he art standards during the Romantic/Victorian period. While she was in the tub of water, one of the lamps that was being used to keep the water warm blew out. Millais, who was so intent on his painting, failed to notice this. Siddal did not complain. As a result, she got very sick and never completely recovered. She had health problems for the rest of her life. Millias paid her doctor bills, but only after Elizabeth's father threatened him with legal action.
It took Millais four months to paint the background. It was not an easy process, but since the Pre-Ralphaelites were determined to be "true to nature," he endured it all the same.
The flowers in this picture are symbol. The willow
is symbolic of forsaken love. The nettle shows pain. The daisies show
innocence. The poppy means death.
Here is what is written on Shakespeare's tombstone:
GOOD FRIEND FOR JESUS' SAKE FORBEAR,
Shakespeare was very concerned about people moving his bones (a common practice to make room for fresher dead people. He was buried 17 feet deep to make it harder for anyone to remove him.
Better than any Darth Vader figure... Sure to be all the rage this Christmas!
For all you Monty Python fans out there. . .
The title to Monty Python's Episode 43 is Hamlet and is all about Hamlet being sick and tired of people wanting him to repeat famous lines from the play. Since the skit becomes extremely dirty, I will not post the transcript here. You can, with parental permission of course, find the transcript easily online.
I have no idea what this is all about...
The rest is silence...