Prince of Denmark. Melancholy, bitter and full of hatred for his uncle's scheming and disgust for his mother's sexuality. A reflective and thoughtful young man, he is often indecisive and hesitant, but at other times prone to rash and impulsive acts.
The King of Denmark, protagonist's uncle. He is a calculating, ambitious politician, driven by his sexual appetites and his lust for power, but he occasionally shows signs of guilt and human feeling—his love for his wife, for instance, seems sincere.
She loves Hamlet deeply, but she is a shallow, weak woman who seeks affection and status more urgently than moral rectitude or truth
Lord Chamberlain of Claudius's court, a pompous, conniving old man
loyal and helpful to Hamlet throughout the play. After the protagonist's death, he remains alive to tell Hamlet's story.
a beautiful young woman with whom the protagonist has been in love. She is a sweet and innocent young girl, who obeys her father and her brother. Dependent on men to tell her how to behave. Even in her lapse into madness and death, she remains maidenly, singing songs about flowers and finally drowning in the river amid the flower garlands she had gathered.
a young man who spends much of the play in France. Passionate and quick to action, he is clearly a foil for the reflective protagonist.
young Prince of Norway. Now he wishes to attack Denmark to avenge his father's honor, making him another foil for the protagonist
specter of the protagonist's recently deceased father. The protagonist speculates that it might be a devil sent to deceive him and tempt him into murder
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
bumbling courtiers, former friends of Hamlet from Wittenberg, who are summoned by the king and queen to discover the cause of the protagonist's strange behavior
The foolish courtier who summons the protagonist to his duel
Voltimand and Cornelius
Courtiers whom the king sends to Norway to persuade the king to prevent Fortinbras from attacking.
Marcellus and Bernardo
The officers who first see the ghost walking the ramparts of Elsinore and who summon Horatio to witness it
A soldier and guardsman at Elsinore.
Polonius's servant, who is sent to France by Polonius to check up on and spy on Laertes.
Author of Hamlet