How is the character of Hamlet presented?.
Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, is the central figure in the tragedy, and much of the dramatic impact of the play derives from the complex nature of his character. He is at one and the same time, gentle and cruel, loving and vindictive, a deeply reflective introvert and a man capable of acting on impulse. The young Prince is shown as an agent of divine justice as well as a man in the center of a conflict that he cannot cope with.
The character of Hamlet seems to stand by itself. He is not shown by his strength of will or even passion, but by his refinement of both thought and sentiment. He seems incapable of deliberate action, and is only hurried into extremities on the spur of the occasion, when he has no time to reflect, as in the scene where he kills Polonius. At other times, when he is most expected to act, he remains puzzled, undecided and sceptical, as in the prayer scene. This draws attention to his unbalanced state as a character and rises more speculation as to why he is delaying his revenge, not only by the readers but also by Hamlet himself:.
"That would be scanned," Hamlet feels his revenge needs further consideration under the circumstances that Claudius is praying. He feels that if he kills him at this point his sins would be forgiven, Hamlet doesn't want this to happen as he feels Claudius should be punished when "he goes to heaven." But even under Hamlets reasoning there seems to be a sense that he should have done it, and yet he tries to convince himself by describing the act as "hire and salary, not revenge," showing his underlying morals and even possibly being afraid and unaware of the consequences.
I don't feel as though Hamlet's true dilemma is one of cowardliness or of sanity versus insanity, but that of him being a scholar, as Hamlet is prone to thought rather than actions. .
As the play opens, Hamlet has just returned from University and has requested for an immediate return back to Wittenberg.