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Unformatted text preview: AP SHORT FORM TITLE: Hamlet AUTHOR: William Shakespeare MAIN CHARACTERS (a clear, concise, description of each) Hamlet – the protagonist and namesake of the play. His name means “one who feigns madness,” referring to his questionable sanity throughout the play. He is the prince of Denmark. He is a naturally indecisive person who struggles with the weight of various hardships, such as his father's death and his mother's subsequent marriage to her brother-in-law, Claudius. This causes him to be very depressed, and he constantly contemplates suicide. The only thing keeping him alive is the fact that he has no idea what will happen to him when he does die, because he lost his faith in religion, which says he will go to Hell, when his mother broke the apparently “holy” oath of marriage. When his father's ghost pays Hamlet a visit and commands him to avenge his death, Hamlet becomes determined to see Claudius, the murderer, pay for what he did to Hamlet, Sr. Now, Hamlet has a reason to stay alive, at least for a while longer. However, he still displays a great deal of indecision and fear when plotting his death. Claudius – Hamlet's uncle and his brother's (Hamlet's father) murderer. After killing Hamlet, Sr., he assumed the throne of Denmark, intercepting Hamlet's ascension to the throne. He is a master manipulator, which is showcased in his relationships with Gertrude, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Polonius and Laertes. He uses these relationships to try to kill Hamlet, and while he succeeds, it is not before he himself is killed by Hamlet. MINOR CHARACTERS (a clear, concise description of each) Polonius – Claudius' sycophantic adviser. He is undyingly loyal to Claudius. He is a nosy person who insists on eavesdropping on Hamlet every chance he gets, and it ends up being what kills him, stabbed through a curtain by Hamlet, who mistook him for Claudius. He is Ophelia and Laertes' father, and he is very protective of his daughter, yet he makes it seem in his own interest. For instance, he tells her that she should not fall in love with Hamlet because she is not of his class, and “you'll render me a fool,” implying that not only could she make a fool out of him, but she could also get pregnant with an illegitimate child. Both of these scenarios would bring shame to Polonius. Gertrude – Hamlet's mother and Queen of Denmark. Two months after husband, Hamlet, Sr., dies, she marries her brother-in-law, Claudius. She carries an air of determined happiness, almost as if she will not admit to herself that her life is less than ideal. It is for this reason that she turns a blind eye and a deaf ear toward Hamlet's despair over his father, because it only reminds her of her own loss and torment. It is also very possibly the reason she married Claudius — so she would not have to be alone and lose her security of position on top of everything else. Her marriage to Claudius contributes to Hamlet's ongoing misogyny and loss of faith in religion, because marriage is supposedly sacred, but she broke her oath to her first husband and therefore broke the “illusion” that religion determined anything. Horatio – Hamlet's best friend and confidante. He is one of the only innocent, good men in the Horatio – Hamlet's best friend and confidante....
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