Hamlet: Prince of Denmark, son of Queen Gertrude and the late King
Hamlet. He pretends to be mad following the death of his father. He is greatly
disturbed by the hasty marriage of his mother to his uncle especially since
he considers the relationship to be incestuous. The ghost of his dead father
tells him that he was murdered by his brother Claudius and asks him to avenge
The Ghost: The late King Hamlet, doomed to walk the earth by night.
He appears to his son to ask that his murder be avenged.
Queen Gertrude: Mother of Prince Hamlet, widow of King Hamlet. She
is now married to Claudius, the brother of her late husband who has assumed
King Claudius: Brother of the late King Hamlet. He murdered his brother
in order to gain his throne and also married his sister-in-law, Gertrude.
Claudius becomes quite disturbed by Hamlets madness and when it becomes
apparent that he knows of his crime, Claudius plots repeatedly to have him
Ophelia: Daughter of Polonius who is very young and beautiful. She
believes that Hamlet loves her even though her father and brother have told
her otherwise. When Hamlet rejects her and eventually kills her father, Ophelia
goes mad. She drowns herself in this state. Her death is used by Claudius
to enlist the help of her brother in the murder of Hamlet.
Laertes: Son of Polonius and brother of Ophelia. He is sent to a school
in France but returns seeking vengeance after the murder of his father. Following
the suicide of his sister Ophelia, he challenges Hamlet to a duel. He has
agreed to treat his sword with poison so as to ensure the death of the Prince.
He is poisoned by his own sword and confesses Claudius' plan to Hamlet as
he is dying.
Polonius: Father of Laertes and Ophelia. Chief Counselor to King Claudius.
He believes that Hamlets madness is caused by his love for Ophelia which
he has ordered her not to return. He is accidentally murdered by Hamlet who
has mistaken the eavesdropper concealed by a curtain to be Claudius.
Horatio: Friend and confidant of Hamlet. Hamlet shares with Horatio
all of his experiences and misgivings in the situation involving his father.
Horatio is left alive at the end to tell of the events leading to the deaths
of Hamlet, Laertes, Claudius, and Gertrude.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: Childhood friends of Hamlet. They are
ordered by Claudius to determine the cause of Hamlets madness. Eventually,
they are summoned by Claudius and told to escort Hamlet to England where he
is to be killed. They are killed instead when Hamlet discovers the death order
and changes it to apply to them.
Fortinbras: Prince of Norway. His father was conquered by King Hamlet
and initially seeks revenge. Ambassadors sent by Claudius are able pacify
him. Upon his death, Prince Hamlet names Fortinbras heir to the throne of
Francisco, Marcellus, and Barnardo: Danish soldiers who guard the
castle of Elsinore and who first spot the ghost.
Osric: A courtier.
Reynaldo: Servant to Polonius.
Voltemand and Cornelius: Courtiers and Ambassadors who prevent an
invasion by Fortinbras.
A Gentleman, A Lord, Ambassadors from England, A Troupe of Players, Two
Messengers, Sailors, Fortinbras Captain, Two Gravediggers, A Priest,
Attendants, Lords, Guards, Musicians, Soldiers, and Followers of Laertes