William Shakespeare wrote “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”. “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” is a tragedy. William Shakespeare was born 1564 and died 1616. William Shakespeare himself, was one of the greatest play writers of all times. Hamlet was an odd character in the play because of the way he acted. Hamlet is intelligent, mad, and selfish.

Hamlet is a very intelligent character. Claudius and Polonius planned to send Hamlet to England to be put to death, escorted by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Hamlet was supposed to be killed in England by getting beheaded, but he found a way around it. “… My head should be struck off,” (V, 2) “…Read it at more leisure…” (V, 2) and “…Devised a new commission, wrote it fair…” (V, 2) shows how Hamlet outsmarted Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Claudius, and Polonius.

Hamlet wrote a different letter that said that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were to be executed and therefore cheated death. Hamlet avenged his father’s death by murdering Claudius. After Hamlet found out that the sword he and Laertes were struck with was poisoned he then stabbed Claudius with it; “The point envenom’d too? Then, venom, to thy work.” (V, 2)

From Hamlet’s point of view, what he did to Ophelia was intelligent. When Ophelia went mad she said, “Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s Day… Never departed more,” (IV, 5) and “Young men will do’t, if they come to’t… You promised me to wed.” (IV, 5) Ophelia was saying that Hamlet told her that they would get married if she had sex with him, and that he never showed any love for her, this was intelligent from Hamlet’s or some male’s point of view.

Hamlet was mad throughout the whole play. Hamlet murdered Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Claudius, Laertes, Polonius, and may have been the reason Ophelia went mad and drowned. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: “He should the bearers…” (V, 2) Claudius: “… Then, venom, to thy work,” (V, 2) Laertes: “They bleed on both sides…” (V, 2) Polonius: “…Dead for a ducat, dead,” (III, 4) Ophelia: “What the fair Ophelia!” (V, 2)

At one point Hamlet was so mad and depressed he wanted to kill himself. “To be, or not to be, that is the question…” (III, 1) The worst possible thoughts that Hamlet could have ever thought, he thought incestuously about his mother and himself. He never said that he wanted to be with his mother, but he was just mad that Claudius took the throne from him at the beginning of the play, not that his father was dead.

Hamlet complained about Gertrude and Claudius incestuous acts, but rarely mentioned his father until towards the end of the play.

Hamlet was a very selfish man. He talked to his mother like a son shouldn’t talk to his mother; “Come, come, and sit you down…” (III, 4) “…here’s metal more attractive.” (III, 2) Hamlet cared about himself more than anyone else. When his childhood friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were executed he felt no remorse even though it was his fault; “He should the bearers put to sudden death, not shriving-time allow’d.” (V, 2)

Hamlet thinks that everyone should grieve for his father as long as he does. It had been at least a month and there was a party going on and he thought it was wrong; “The king doth wake tonight and takes his rouse…” (I, 4) Hamlet is intelligent, mad, and selfish.

Hamlet was the cause of Ophelia’s death because she just gave up on life. Hamlet was intelligent enough to hide his pain and grieving about his father at the beginning well. Hamlet was mad because he had only one person he could trust and that was Horatio.

author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0


  1. Hamlet presented himself as “mad” when being watched AS IN THE “To be” monologue. Ophelia was spying on him BECAUSE the king and Polonius had reason to believe he was pretending to be mad.
    The audience sees this because it (actually “they” but Americans do not use that construction) is watching Opehlia and Polonius spy.
    You mentioned he was intelligent, so consider, within the intricacies of a violent power struggle, one where he could easily be killed, he hid behind a ruse.
    Much of your other analysis reveals your own sensitivities, which is fine, as we all to do that. The trick is to widen perspective. What you think is murder by a mad man may be the stuff of “the game of thrones.” (I am assuming you are a student by language and approach to the essay.)
    Find the Mel Gibson version. It isn’t weighed down by this “madness” stuff and the action fits the words. Also, you must watch Rosenkranz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a great play and movie, which is fun. You will “get it.”

  2. I dont think he was selfish… he was very angry at his mother because he believed her to have helped Claudius carry out the murder of his father. He feels resentment for her throughout the entire play – that doesn’t make him selfish, just angry. He was angry at R&G too, they betrayed his trust. I wouldn’t call him selfish, maybe a sociopath, but not selfish.

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