Prince Hamlet is a fictional character, the protagonist in Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet. He is the Prince of Denmark, nephew to the usurping Claudiusand son of the previous King of Denmark, Old Hamlet. Throughout 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 his two childhood friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. He is also indirectly involved in the deaths of his love Ophelia (drowning) and of his mother Gertrude (poisoned by mistake). Hamlet himself is the final character to die in the play. Perhaps the most straightforward view sees Hamlet as seeking truth in order to be certain that he is justified in carrying out the revenge called for by a ghost that claims to be the spirit of his father. The 1948 movie with Laurence Olivier in the title role is introduced by a voiceover: "This is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind."
T. S. Eliot offers a similar view of Hamlet's character in his critical essay, "Hamlet and His Problems" (The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism). He states, "We find Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' not in the action, not in any quotations that we might select, so much as in an unmistakable tone...".
Etymology of Hamlet
Hamlet’s name is filled with meaning and controversy. The name Hamlet occurs as early as the 10th century. His name is easily derived in form from Belleforest and the lost play from Amlethus ofSaxo, and remaining in this form is then derived from its Latin form of the old Jutish Amlethoe. From this point the name can be divided into sections with common meanings. In terms of etymology the root name of Hamlet is an Icelandic noun, Amlooi, meaning ‘fool.’ However, this name is derived from the way that Hamlet acts in the play and is not in all actuality the true etymology of the name. The second way of translating the name is by...