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What are the characteristics of "Hamlet"?

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Quick Answer

Hamlet is an elusive and mysterious character that is philosophical, contemplative, obsessive, impulsive, melancholy, intelligent and careless. Hamlet is a character in William Shakespeare's play, also titled "Hamlet."

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What are the characteristics of "Hamlet"?
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Full Answer

Audiences and readers of the play "Hamlet" have always been intrigued by the character of Hamlet because he is difficult to understand and has many conflicting characteristics. He even tells other characters, such as his mother and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, that there is more to him than what other people see.

Hamlet is a university student whose father dies while he is away. He immediately comes back home and begins to obsess about his father's death. He is drawn throughout the play to questions that cannot be easily answered or cannot be answered with certainty. He ponders the afterlife and suicide as well.

The play "Hamlet" is known for its wonderful soliloquies that the character Hamlet gives while he contemplates and philosophizes about what is going on. The classic "To be or not to be" speech comes from this play and is given by Hamlet himself.

It is often wondered whether Hamlet is a madman as he goes between thoughtful obsession and rash impulsiveness. One example of this is when he decides to stab Polonius through a curtain. He does not check first to see who it is and he speaks wildly with erratic behavior, which is at odds with his typical thoughtful demeanor.

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