Analysis of Hamlet as a Character

This is that Hamlet the Dane whom we read of in our youth, and whom we may be said almost to remember in our after years; he who made that famous soliloquy on life, who gavethe advice to the players, who thought "this goodly frame, the earth," a sterile promontory, and "this brave o'er-hanging firmament, the air, this majestical roof fretted with goldenfire," "a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours;" whom "man delighted not, nor woman neither;" he who talked with the grave-diggers, and moralised on Yorrick's skull; the school-fellow of Rosencraus and Guildenstern at Wittenburg; the friend of Horatio; the lover of Ophelia; he that was mad and sent to England; the slow avenger of his father's death; who lived at the court of Horwendillus five hundred years before we were born, but all whose thoughts we seem to know as well as we do our own, because we have read them in Shakespeare.

Hamlet is a name; his speeches and sayings but the idle coinage of the poet's brain. What then, are they not real? They are as real as our own thoughts. Their reality is in the reader's mind. It is WE who are Hamlet. This play has a prophetic truth, which is above that of history....

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