Hamlet Prince of Denmark; -Protagonist-upset that his uncle killed his father to become king and married Hamlet’s mother-pretends to be crazy to give him time to figure out how he can get revenge-struggles with himself about his hesitation to get revenge
Claudius King of Denmark, and Hamlet’s Uncle; Antagonist-secretly murdered his brother to become king and marry the queen-plots with Laertes to poison Hamlet when he thinks that Hamlet may know his secret
Gertrude the Queen; Hamlet’s mom-marries Claudius soon after the king dies-there is no evidence in the play that she knew about the murder but her sudden marriage to Claudius is suspicious-Hamlet thinks she is weak-accidentally drinks the poison that is intended for Hamlet
King Hamlet/The Ghost -murdered by his own brother-appears before three soldiers, who recognize him as the dead king-asks Hamlet to avenge his death-though he is disgusted that his wife Gertrude married Claudius, he asks Hamlet not to hurt her
Polonius advisor to King Claudius-father of Ophelia and Laertes-a windbag and a rambler of wisdom-spies on Hamlet for the king-Hamlet stabs him as he is hiding behind a curtain
Laertes son of Polonius and brother of Ophelia-is given advice by his father about how to behave in France-returns from France when he learns of his father’s death-after Ophelia’s death, he plots with Claudius to stage a sword fight in which Hamlet will be poisoned
Ophelia Hamlet’s girlfriend-daughter of Polonius, sister of Laertes-her father tells her not to see Hamlet and her brother tells her Hamlet may not have good intentions toward her-Hamlet insults her when he is pretending to be crazy-she commits suicide after Hamlet kills her father
Horatio loyal friend of Hamlet-promises to help Hamlet throughout the play-watches the king during the play to see if he is guilty-goes to the graveyard with Hamlet-though he wants to drink the poison too at the end of the play, Hamlet asks him not to so that he can live and help fix things in Denmark-the only main character in the play to survive
Marcellus a soldier who is Hamlet’s friend-sees the ghost of Hamlet’s father-swears to Hamlet that he will keep what he sees a secret
Fortinbras Prince of Norway-his father, was killed by Hamlet’s father-Fortinbras wishes to attack Denmark to avenge his father’s honor-Hamlet admires how Fortinbras acts to get revenge for his father
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern -old school friends of Hamlet-Claudius asks them to spy on Hamlet to figure out why he has gone crazy-Hamlet realizes they are spying on him, rather than being his friends-are sent to England with Hamlet, along with a letter from King Claudius instructing the King of England to kill Hamlet-they are killed when Hamlet changes the instructions to read that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are to be killed instead
Denmark a country in Northern Europe
William Shakespeare The playwright who wrote Hamlet