gentleman and childhood friend of Hamlet. Along with his companion,
Guildenstern, Rosencrantz seeks to uncover the cause of Hamlet’s
strange behavior but finds himself confused by his role in the action
of the play. Rosencrantz has a carefree and artless personality that
masks deep dread about his fate.
in-depth analysis of Rosencrantz.
gentleman and childhood friend of Hamlet. Accompanied by Rosencrantz,
Guildenstern tries to discover what is plaguing Hamlet as well as
his own purpose in the world. Although frequently disconcerted by
the world around him, Guildenstern is a meditative man who believes
that he can understand his life.
in-depth analysis of Guildenstern.
leader of the traveling actors known as the Tragedians. The Player
is an enigmatic figure. His cunning wit and confident air suggest
that he knows more than he is letting on. The impoverished state
of his acting troupe makes him eager to please others, but only
on his own terms.
in-depth analysis of The Player.
group of traveling male actors. The Tragedians specialize in melodramatic
and sensationalistic performances, and they are willing to engage
in sexual entertainments if the price is right.
prince of Denmark and a childhood friend of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Hamlet is thrown into a deep personal crisis when his father dies
and his uncle takes the throne and marries Hamlet’s mother. Hamlet’s
strange behavior confuses the other characters, especially Rosencrantz
uncle and the new king of Denmark. Claudius is a sinister character
who tries to exploit the friendship between Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern
and Hamlet to learn what Hamlet believes about the king’s marriage to
mother and the queen of Denmark. Although she has disgraced herself
by marrying Claudius so soon after her husband’s death, Gertrude
does seem to care for Hamlet’s well-being and sincerely hopes that Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern can help her son.
member of the Danish court and adviser to Claudius. Polonius is
a shifty man, willing to interrogate Hamlet and even spy on him
to learn what he wants to know.
daughter of Polonius and Hamlet’s former beloved. Ophelia spends
the play in a state of shock and anguish as a result of Hamlet’s
son of Polonius and brother of Ophelia. Laertes does not appear
in the action of the play, but his corpse appears in the final scene.