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Hamlet: Dramatis Personae

Please see Shakespeare's Characters: A to Z for a pronunciation guide.
Please see Introduction to the Characters in Hamlet for analysis and fascinating facts.

Claudius, King of Denmark

Hamlet, son to the late, and nephew to the present king

Polonius, Lord Chamberlain

Horatio, friend to Hamlet

Laertes, son to Polonius

Voltimand, Cornelius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Osric, a Gentleman, courtiers

A Priest

Marcellus, Barnardo, officers

Francisco, a soldier

Reynaldo, servant to Polonius


Two Clowns, grave-diggers

Fortinbras, Prince of Norway

A Captain

English Ambassadors

Gertrude, Queen of Denmark and mother to Hamlet

Ophelia, daughter to Polonius

Lords, Ladies, Officers, Soldiers, Sailors, Messengers, and other Attendants

Ghost of Hamlet's Father

Scene: Denmark

Next: Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1


More Resources

 Daily Life in Shakespeare's London
 Life in Stratford (structures and guilds)
 Life in Stratford (trades, laws, furniture, hygiene)
 Stratford School Days: What Did Shakespeare Read?

 Games in Shakespeare's England [A-L]
 Games in Shakespeare's England [M-Z]
 An Elizabethan Christmas
 Clothing in Elizabethan England

 Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare's Patron
 King James I of England: Shakespeare's Patron
 The Earl of Southampton: Shakespeare's Patron
 Going to a Play in Elizabethan London

 Ben Jonson and the Decline of the Drama
 Publishing in Elizabethan England
 Shakespeare's Audience
 Religion in Shakespeare's England

 Alchemy and Astrology in Shakespeare's Day
 Entertainment in Elizabethan England
 London's First Public Playhouse
 Shakespeare Hits the Big Time

Thoughts on Divine Providence

"In Hamlet, the Poet gives a dramatic representation of the free will of man under the governance or guidance of the Divine Will — a Will which subordinates in some mysterious and incomprehensible manner all human actions and events to the accomplishment of purposes often inscrutable to the human mind." Simon Augustine Blackmore. Read on...

More to Explore

 Hamlet: The Complete Play with Explanatory Notes
 Introduction to Hamlet
 The Hamlet and Ophelia Subplot
 The Norway Subplot in Hamlet
 Hamlet Plot Summary

 Hamlet: Problem Play and Revenge Tragedy
 The Purpose of The Murder of Gonzago
 The Dumb-Show: Why Hamlet Reveals his Knowledge to Claudius
 The Elder Hamlet: The Kingship of Hamlet's Father
 Hamlet's Relationship with the Ghost


Did You Know? ... Shakespeare did not list his characters at the beginning of the play. Neither did he separate his plays into acts and scenes. There is no one single authoritative copy of Hamlet which we can read as Shakespeare intended. The play as we know it today has been an undertaking lasting hundreds of years by hundreds of editors who have attempted to organize and amend the various quartos and folios to capture its full glory. The poet Nicholas Rowe was the first to list the Dramatis Personae in 1709. You can read more about Rowe here.


 Philological Examination Questions on Hamlet
 Quotations from Hamlet (with commentary)
 Hamlet Study Quiz (with detailed answers)
 Analysis of I am sick at heart (1.1)
 Hamlet: Q & A

 Soliloquy Analysis: O this too too... (1.2)
 Soliloquy Analysis: O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!... (2.2)
 Soliloquy Analysis: To be, or not to be... (3.1)
 Soliloquy Analysis: Tis now the very witching time of night... (3.2)
 Soliloquy Analysis: Now might I do it pat... (3.3)
 Soliloquy Analysis: How all occasions do inform against me... (4.4)

 Ophelia's Burial and Christian Rituals
 The Baker's Daughter: Ophelia's Nursery Rhymes
 Hamlet as National Hero
 Claudius and the Condition of Denmark

 In Secret Conference: The Meeting Between Claudius and Laertes
 O Jephthah - Toying with Polonius
 The Death of Polonius and its Impact on Hamlet's Character
 Blank Verse and Diction in Shakespeare's Hamlet

 Hamlet's Silence
 An Excuse for Doing Nothing: Hamlet's Delay
 Foul Deeds Will Rise: Hamlet and Divine Justice
 Defending Claudius - The Charges Against the King
 Shakespeare's Fools: The Grave-Diggers in Hamlet

 Hamlet's Humor: The Wit of Shakespeare's Prince of Denmark
 All About Yorick
 Hamlet's Melancholy: The Transformation of the Prince
 Hamlet's Antic Disposition: Is Hamlet's Madness Real?

 The Significance of the Ghost in Armor
 The Significance of Ophelia's Flowers
 Ophelia and Laertes
 Mistrusted Love: Ophelia and Polonius

 Divine Providence in Hamlet
 What is Tragic Irony?
 Seneca's Tragedies and the Elizabethan Drama
 Shakespeare's Sources for Hamlet

 Characteristics of Elizabethan Tragedy
 Why Shakespeare is so Important
 Shakespeare's Language
 Shakespeare's Influence on Other Writers