Why do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern reveal Hamlet

1. Person constellation



Note: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are missing in the illustration, because there was simply no space and the two are not particularly important anyway.


2. Hamlet


He is the main character and the title giver of the play. Its age is estimated to be around 30 years. His father, called "Old Hamlet", is murdered by Claudius before the story begins. His mother, Queen Gertrude, then marries his uncle, Claudius. This step by the mother makes Hamlet angry and arouses contempt in him, possibly also some envy and fear of losing his mother's love.

Hamlet studies in Wittenberg and can therefore be classified as more educated. He has the ability for self-reflection, but also has a strong tendency to melancholy and repeatedly shows self-doubt and a certain lack of self-confidence. He is more of a hesitant nature and has trouble putting his feelings into words, especially at the beginning of the piece. That is why he often paraphrases them. Only later does his ability to express himself gradually improve.
However, that does not change the fact that he is quite sensitive and perceives feelings more clearly than others. This can be seen not least in his grief after the death of his father, which lasts much longer for him than for his mother.


3. Claudius


Claudius is the brother of the former King of Denmark and, accordingly, Hamlet's uncle. He is ambitious and obsessed with power. In order to achieve his goals, he calculates coolly and without emotion. So he sneakily kills Hamlet's father in order to come to power. He tries to get Hamlet out of the way twice, also with lists, but fails both times.

However, Claudius sometimes shows a different, more humane side. So the love for Gertrude seems to be real. Apparently he didn't deal with the murder of Hamlet's father quite as well as he would have liked. His prayer for forgiveness for the murder shows a degree of repentance and fear.


4. Gertrude


She is the queen of Denmark. After the death of "Old Hamlet" she is initially a widow and then marries Claudius, making him king. Hamlet is her son whom she loves with all her heart. She cannot understand his criticism of her quick remarriage to Claudius after the death of her husband. It can be assumed that she has a certain affection for Claudius.
She seems rather weak and not very interested in truths. It is only when Hamlet asks her directly that her deceased husband was probably murdered that she apparently ponders. However, it cannot be completely ruled out that she was involved in the murder.


5. Ophelia


Ophelia is a young, inexperienced and very beautiful woman. Hamlet loves her and it can be assumed that she reciprocates this love. However, her father (Polonius) and her brother (Laertes) give her the "order" to reject Hamlet. She complies without objection, as was the custom for women at that time. She even spies on Hamlet as soon as she is asked to. Ophelia is therefore, like Gertrude, to be classified as a rather weak person. This weakness results on the one hand from their inexperience, on the other hand from the role of women in a patriarchal society. She is largely at the mercy of her father and brother and has to do what they “command” her. She hardly has any rights of her own.

Later in the play, after Hamlet's rejections and the death of her father, Ophelia goes mad. In her delusion, she makes various sexual innuendos that indicate repressed instincts.
She eventually commits suicide by drowning herself in a river.


6. Polonius


He is the chamberlain of King Claudius and father of Ophelia and Laertes. Polonius cultivates his social relations with great zeal. He attaches great importance to his appearance, his clothing and his demeanor. He is also characterized by a great loquacity and likes to throw wisdom around. It can be assumed, however, that this pseudo-intellectual behavior is only put on to hide his actual plans and intrigues.
Polonius instructs his daughter Ophelia to reject Hamlet because he does not believe in his love. She should only accept Hamlet's advances if he should one day be king. Obviously, he assumes that others are acting just as dishonestly as he is. Later he claims before Claudius that Hamlet is simply "too good" for his Ophelia.

When trying to overhear a conversation between Hamlet and Gertrude, he is mistaken for Claudius and stabbed by Hamlet.

Two quotes from him:
"Brevity is the soul of wit" - the spice lies in brevity.
"To thine own be true" - Be true to yourself (ironic that he says so despite telling Ophelia to ignore her own feelings).


7. Laertes


Laertes is the son of Polonius and thus Ophelia's brother. He is now in France, but will come back as soon as he learns of his father's death. Shortly afterwards, his sister also dies. He reacts with anger and a lust for revenge. Claudius convinces him that it is all Hamlet's fault and that Hamlet must therefore die. With a ruse that was worked out by Claudius, he tries to kill Hamlet, but dies in the process. Only shortly before his own death can he forgive Hamlet.
Hamlet and Laertes are similar in their strong feelings, young age and a great love for the dead Ophelia. While Hamlet is rather hesitant, Laertes is characterized by a daring and hasty manner.


8. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern


Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two men who were childhood friends with Hamlet. Claudius calls you to spy on Hamlet. In order to rise in the favor of the king, they willingly do so and thereby betray their friend. Hamlet later uses a ruse to ensure that they are executed in England.


9. Horatio


He is a good friend of Hamlet and the only major character who survives. Hamlet trusts him unconditionally and, shortly before his death, instructs him to tell the tragedy to the royal family, which he actually does.


10. Fortinbras


Fortinbras is the prince of Norway. His father was killed by Hamlet's father, so he would like to go to war with Denmark and conquer the country - as a late revenge, so to speak. Hamlet nonetheless admires him for his courage and honesty.
He has only a few appearances in the play and is one of the first to enter the scene after the last fight and see the corpses. As soon as he learns of Hamlet's tragic story, he orders that Hamlet be buried with full military honors. In doing so, he pays Hamlet the same respect that Hamlet felt for him.
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