Hamlet is a Shakespearean character in the tragedy, Hamlet Prince of Denmark (1600-1).
As the Prince of Denmark, Hamlet’s unjustly slain father appears as a ghost. The spirit tells Hamlet that the crime was committed by Claudius and urges revenge. Unfortunately Hamlet kills the wrong man, flees, returns, eventually kills Claudius and is himself killed.
Perhaps most memorable about the play is Hamlet’s extensive philosophical musing prior to making significant decisions. His acute ability to consider countless angles to problems often paralyzes him into inaction. When he does act, he goofs, or partially succeeds without really knowing how (e.g. he seizes a poisoned sword meant to kill him).
The historian of literature, William Rose Benét, says that Hamlet is often regarded as the world’s first “modern man.”
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