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Prince Hamlet
Hamlet character
Bernhardt Hamlet2.jpg
Sarah Bernhardt as Hamlet, 1880–1885
Created byWilliam Shakespeare
In-universe information
AffiliationHoratio
FamilyKing Hamlet (father)
Gertrude (mother)
Claudius (Uncle)

Prince Hamlet is the title role and protagonist of William Shakespeare's c. 1600 tragedy Hamlet. He is the Prince of Denmark, nephew to the usurping Claudius, and son of King Hamlet, the previous king of Denmark. At the beginning of the play, he struggles with whether, and how, to avenge the murder of his father, and struggles with his own sanity along the way. By the end of the tragedy, Hamlet has caused the deaths of Polonius, Laertes, Claudius, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two acquaintances of his from childhood. He is also indirectly involved in the deaths of his love Ophelia (drowning) and of his mother Gertrude (poisoned by Claudius by mistake).

Role in the play

The play opens with Hamlet deeply depressed over the recent death of his father, King Hamlet, and his uncle Claudius' ascension to the throne and hasty marriage to Hamlet's mother Gertrude. One night, his father's ghost appears to him and tells him that Claudius murdered him in order to usurp the throne, and commands his son to avenge his death.

Claudius sends for two of Hamlet's friends from Wittenberg, to find out what is causing Hamlet so much pain. Claudius and his advisor title role and protagonist of William Shakespeare's c. 1600 tragedy Hamlet. He is the Prince of Denmark, nephew to the usurping Claudius, and son of King Hamlet, the previous king of Denmark. At the beginning of the play, he struggles with whether, and how, to avenge the murder of his father, and struggles with his own sanity along the way. By the end of the tragedy, Hamlet has caused the deaths of Polonius, Laertes, Claudius, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two acquaintances of his from childhood. He is also indirectly involved in the deaths of his love Ophelia (drowning) and of his mother Gertrude (poisoned by Claudius by mistake).