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AlternativeCharacterInterpretation is applicable to pretty much everyone here.

!!Hamlet

* AntiHero. One to think rather than act, makes some morally questionable choices.
* BerserkButton: Referring to Claudius as his father.
* BirdsOfAFeather: With young Fortinbras. Hamlet respects his HotBlooded, passionate, emotion-fueled nature, and this, coupled with their similarities in situation and circumstance, is a large part of the reason Hamlet gives the Danish crown to him after the entire royal line is extinguished. [[{{Foil}} Hamlet sees Fortinbras as the man and ruler he wishes he himself could be.]]
* ByronicHero: Angsty, thoughtful, cynical, lonely, weary of the world, arrogant, loved by many yet an outcast in his own family, overly dramatic and emotional in some interpretations, filled with self-hatred - Hamlet fits all the criteria to a T.
* DeadpanSnarker: Immensely so. Hamlet rather enjoys running circles round Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who are too dense to realize that he's mocking them.
* TheDitherer: His FatalFlaw, according to many critics.
* DoubleEntendre: Fond of making these, especially around Ophelia.
* EmoTeen: In the productions where he really is a teenager, at least.
* FamousLastWords: "The rest is silence."
* FatalFlaw: It's widely agreed that Hamlet has one[[note]]he discusses the concept in an early scene[[/note]]. There's rather less agreement on what, specifically, it ''is''.
* HairTriggerTemper. While his uncertainty is often cited as his key flaw, Hamlet can sometimes surprisingly lash out at people and commit violent acts with little provocation. Most notoriously, he kills Polonius when he mistakes him for the king, hiding behind the arras.
* HiddenDepths: Still hidden to this day, in fact.
* HonorBeforeReason: One of his many inner conflicts. For example, when he has a chance to kill Claudius, he does not do so because he fears sending him to heaven. Some critics have identified the additional conflict of pagan values (e.g. family honour, avenging ones father's death) vs. Christian ones (not committing murder, the Divine Right of Kings, etc.).
* {{Hypocrite}}: He advises the players to resist theatrics and appears to revere passionate people like Fortinbras, but he seems to like grand gestures like the play within a play and is unable to act on his passionate impulses.
* {{Jerkass}}: At his worst, he can be quite terrible towards the people he interacts with, and his words are cutting. Case in point - his mocking of Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, as well as his tirades towards Ophelia and Gertrude.
** JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Possibly. In a way, he may have been warning Ophelia of the dangers associated with loving him, rejecting her so that no further harm would befall her.
* KarmaHoudini: Sort of. He kills Polonius, and although Claudius tries to have him killed on the quiet Hamlet evades punishment. He also seems to receive no punishment for the deaths of Rosencrantz, Guildenstern OR Ophelia, until the very end, and it's implied that Laertes's forgiveness absolves him completely.
* KickTheDog: [[{{Jerkass}} Hamlet's kind of a dick to just about everyone]] [[OddFriendship save for Horatio]], [[BirdsOfAFeather although he also seems to admire young Fortinbras a great deal.]] But even more than that, he feels absolutely no remorse whatsoever for killing Polonius, (even if it was an accident) and [[ThoseTwoGuys Rosencrantz and Guildenstern]] (who are really implied to just be [[UnwittingPawn unwitting pawns]] of Claudius, although to be fair, [[PoorCommunicationKills Hamlet thought they were trying to get him killed]]), and being utterly cruel to Ophelia to point he drives her suicidally insane. In the end, Hamlet racks up a higher kill count than Claudius ever aspired to, and pretty much none of them deserved it, either.
* KillHimAlready: The driving conflict of the plot is Hamlet's uncertainty and hesitance in avenging his father's death. This may be seen as a more general metaphor for man's uncertainty of his moral duty and place in the universe.
* LargeHam: His bragging contest with Laertes over their love for Ophelia - Hamlet's surpasses the love of "five thousand brothers" in its intensity.
* LostInCharacter: One possible interpretation of the character.
* ManChild: If he is indeed 30 (see below), Hamlet very much qualifies.
* TheMasochismTango: His terrible treatment of Ophelia.
* MommyIssues. Some interpretations read Hamlet's obsession as an Oedipus complex - he seems much more fixated on his mother's incestuous marriage, more so than Claudius's murder of his father.
%%* MoodSwinger. Please add context before un-commenting
* NotSoDifferent: He and Claudius are similar in many ways.
** Also with Fortinbras. [[LampshadeHanging Hamlet realizes this, as well.]] The four sons Fortinbras, Pyrrhus, Hamlet and Laertes are bound by the same task, yet how differently they approach it is rather interesting to see. (And Hamlet wasn't too bad; Fortinbras delayed for sixteen years.)
* ObfuscatingInsanity. Many in the court (particularly Polonius) perceive Hamlet's eccentric speech and behaviour as signs of madness. It is up to the director's and audience's interpretation as to how much is feigned (to put Claudius in a false sense of security) and how much is real.
* OddFriendship: With Horatio. The Prince of Denmark, best friends with a commoner he'd met in college? Not to mention their contrasting personalities.
* PungeonMaster: An uncommonly melancholy master, but every other word out of his mouth is a DoubleEntendre or StealthInsult.
%%* SociopathicHero. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* StrawNihilist. Please add context before un-commenting
* SwordOverHead: Ironically, things would have worked out ''much better'' if he had taken the opportunity.
* TalkativeLoon: Feigned (possibly).
* TragicHero: Hamlet's story is, superficially, a classic revenge tragedy, a very popular genre at the time. In more general terms, Hamlet may be seen as the tragic representation of man as an individual, torn between a search for truth and an immediate duty, between fate and free will, between one moral code and another, whose uncertainty and hesitation leads to his downfall.
* TragicMistake: Hamlet's downfall can be traced back to the moment where he sees Claudius at prayer and decides to wait until later to avenge his father.
* WritersCannotDoMath: Leading to problems with calculating his age. While he is a student (which at the time wouldn't have put him past his late teens or early twenties), the gravedigger indirectly mentions that he is about thirty. [[AgeLift Real-life casting issues]] may have played a role here.
* YouKilledMyFather: Hamlet's main motivation is to avenge his dead father. His desire to establish absolute certainty and to kill the usurper under exactly the right circumstances leads to much delaying, and ultimately the death of most of the Danish court.

!!Claudius

%%* BigBad. Please add context before un-commenting
* BoisterousBruiser: Sometimes played this way.
* CainAndAbel: The Cain to [[PosthumousCharacter King Hamlet's]] Abel.
%%* TheCasanova. Please add context before un-commenting
* ComfortingTheWidow: Claudius "comforts" Gertrude. It helps win him the throne. On the other hand, he does seem to genuinely love her. It is not an unpopular AlternativeCharacterInterpretation that the throne was an afterthought and Claudius killed the king solely for Gertrude.
%%* DirtyCoward. Please add context before un-commenting
* DirtyOldMan: How Hamlet sees him.
%%* EvilPrince. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* EvilUncle. Please add context before un-commenting
* IgnoredEpiphany: Actually comes close to repenting at one point, but he can't make himself give up the kingdom. Instead he gives up any thoughts of atoning and just concentrates on being King.
%%* ItsAllAboutMe. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* ManipulativeBastard. Please add context before un-commenting
* NoNameGiven: In the play itself he is never named, everyone calling him "The King", "Your Uncle" or "My Husband".
* NotSoDifferent: His actions and those of Hamlet, specially regarding the letter to England, are rather similar.
%%* RasputinianDeath. Please add context before un-commenting
* SiblingTriangle: Claudius murders his brother and marries his brother's wife. Interpretations vary as to how complicit Gertrude is in the plot.
%%* SleazyPolitician. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* SuccessionCrisis. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* VillainWithGoodPublicity. Please add context before un-commenting

!!Ophelia

%%* BreakTheCutie. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* BroodingBoyGentleGirl: Hamlet and Ophelia could be seen as a deconstruction. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* ButtMonkey. Please add context before un-commenting
* DisposableLoveInterest: She's completely passive and entirely defined by her relationships with the male characters. When they all disappear (Hamlet rejects her, her father dies and Laertes is abroad) she goes completely to pieces and commits suicide.
* DoesNotLikeShoes: In many adaptations theatrical productions, films, paintings, etc. Ophelia is barefoot during the mad scene.
* DrivenToSuicide: Probably, unless she was just so insane she didn't take heed to her clothes soaking up water while lying in a river. This is all, of course, [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation open for debate]].
%%* FlowerMotifs. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* KillTheCutie. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* LoveHurts: Especially for the love interest in a Shakespearian tragedy. Please add context before un-commenting
* MadOracle: Possibly in her mad scene.
* NeutralFemale: She shows very little independence and simply acts as a pawn to her father, and then as then motivator for Laertes' revenge after her death.
%%* TheOphelia: The TropeNamer. Please add context before un-commenting
* SpeechImpediment: In certain interpretations, Ophelia does have a lisp, and some of her lines actually reflect this (for example, "twice two months" is understood as "two-es...two months). This gives Hamlet's line ("...you lisp, you nickname God's creatures...") a second, literal meaning.
* StarCrossedLovers: At least as far as her father is concerned.
%%* TalkativeLoon. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* TemporaryLoveInterest. Please add context before un-commenting

!!Laertes

* AntiVillain: While he sides with Claudius in conspiring to poison Hamlet, his motivations in doing so are thoroughly understandable. His desire to avenge his father and sister is no different from Hamlet's goal of avenging the dead king.
* BigBrotherInstinct: Before leaving for France, Laertes warns his sister Ophelia from getting involved with Hamlet.
* BrotherSisterIncest: Implied in some productions.
* ChekhovsGunman: He is introduced in the first act and appears briefly in two scenes before departing for most of the play. He returns to play a major role in the final act.
* DeathEqualsRedemption: Only when he knows he is dying does Laertes reconcile with Hamlet, absolving him of his father and sister's deaths and urging him to kill Claudius,
* DefeatMeansFriendship[[note]]Or rather: MutualKill Means Friendship[[/note]]: When it is clear that they are both dying, he and Hamlet reconcile and he reveals all of Claudius' plot. This knowledge of his impending death is the final impetus that Hamlet needs to carry out his revenge.
* {{Foil}}: For Hamlet, who {{Lampshades}} it in the final scene. Both seek to avenge their fathers' deaths, but while Hamlet is extremely cautious to establish his uncle's guilt, Laertes almost commits regicide based on nothing but a hunch.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Killed by the same poisoned blade he uses to kill Hamlet.
* HotBlooded: He re-enters the play in Act IV in a rage over the death of his father, and comes very close to killing Claudius. He later brawls with Hamlet in his sister's grave, despite having already agreed to a more formalised duel.
* YouKilledMyFather: His reaction to his father's death [[{{Foil}} stands in stark contrast]] to Hamlet's behaviour. While Hamlet's [[KillHimAlready hesitation]] to seek revenge proves to be his undoing, Laertes is quite the opposite. After hearing that Polonius has been killed, he immediately jumps to the conclusion that Claudius is responsible. He returns to Denmark with an army of supporters, bent on committing regicide.

!!Polonius

* AbusiveParents: Certain interpretations of Polonius show him as this towards Ophelia, manipulating her and keeping her emotionally stunted.
* CaptainObvious: His LastWords, if anyone was unsure.
* TheConsigliere: Certain interpretations see him even as TheManBehindTheMan regarding Claudius.
%%* HurricaneOfAphorisms. Please add context before un-commenting
* HypocriticalHumor: He claims that brevity is the soul of wit... while being one of the most talkative and least witty characters in the play.
%%* IdiotBall: Takes it and runs with it. This eventually leads to TooDumbToLive. Please add context before un-commenting
* LackOfEmpathy: He may try to look like he has empathy, but would anyone who has empathy try and test if a relationship is real by making his daughter ''pretend to dump the guy''?
* LoveMakesYouCrazy: Abides by this philosophy regarding Hamlet and Ophelia.
%%* ObfuscatingStupidity. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* OldWindbag. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* OverprotectiveDad. Please add context before un-commenting
* PurpleProse: His standard manner of speaking, played for laughs with the advice given to his son, as well as the [[TropeNamer trope naming]] line for Administrivia/BrevityIsWit.
%%* SleazyPolitician. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* UpperClassTwit. Please add context before un-commenting
* WrongGenreSavvy: Seems to think he's in a StarCrossedLovers play rather than a revenge tragedy.

!!Gertrude

* BerserkButton: Fairly meek and submissive for most of the play but insulting or threatening Claudius will make her go Incredible Hulk on your ass. "Oh this is counter you false, Danish dogs!"
* ChristmasCake: When an actress is past her prime, she is said to be "playing Gertrude" (ie: rather than Ophelia).
* GuessWhoImMarrying: Hamlet is deeply shocked that she marries her former brother-in-law so soon after her husband's death.
* HeroicSacrifice: Some interpretations hold that she knowingly drinks the poisoned drink intended to kill her son.
* ParentWithNewParamour: She marries Claudius after the elder Hamlet's death. Whether or not she was complicit in the murder varies depending on interpretation.

!!Fortinbras

%%* TheAce. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* BirdsOfAFeather: With Hamlet. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* {{Foil}}: To Hamlet. Please add context before un-commenting
%%* HotBlooded. Please add context before un-commenting
* KarmaHoudini: Arguably - some readings of the text and some adaptations have him attempting to conquer Denmark underhandedly rather than just passing through with his army as he claims, and the ending for him is Hamlet supporting him to be the next king. If this was his plan, then he's not only not made to pay for his treacherous actions, he ends up being ''rewarded'' for it.
* NotSoDifferent: From Hamlet, [[LampshadeHanging which Hamlet later points out.]]
* OnlySaneMan: Out of the Hamlet/Laertes/him trio, he's the only one that gets things done and doesn't end up dead.
* RedHerring: All that talk of Fortinbras' invasion and time devoted building up is his character? He ends up being a tertiary character at best and just ends up invading Poland, instead. He has nothing to do with the tragedy of the play, despite his desire to avenge his father old Fortinbras at the hands of old King Hamlet, [[NotSoDifferent and he and Hamlet]] [[BirdsOfAFeather seem to form a mutual respect for one another.]] Circumstances not being what they were, they probably would have been great friends. Hamlet even gives him the Danish crown in the final act to avoid a succession crisis after the royal line is wiped out, [[MagnificentBastard which also ties Denmark and Norway closely together and will end a great deal of potential conflict between the two kingdoms.]] [[WorthyOpponent Fortinbras also proclaims that they will honor Hamlet with a full military funeral and says he would have made an excellent king, in his opinion.]]
* YouKilledMyFather: He planned to attack Denmark, because Hamlet's father killed his, the Old King Fortimbras in battle.

!!Horatio

* GoodNightSweetPrince: Says these words upon Hamlet's death, thereby serving as the TropeNamer.
* HoYay or HeterosexualLifePartners: He and Hamlet seem quite close, to the point of Horatio being willing to commit suicide upon Hamlet's death (effectively forsaking his own salvation). Horatio is the only person Hamlet truly trusts enough to impart his plans to him, the only one who doesn't betray him in some fashion. Some productions do add a homoerotic element to their relationship (or, in one case, they cast Horatio as a woman in love with Hamlet).
* IShouldWriteABookAboutThis: Hamlet commands him to keep his memory alive after he is dead, and it is implied that Horatio becomes the narrator of the story.
* MoralityPet: Probably the only person Hamlet is consistently nice to.
* OddFriendship: [[OnlySaneMan Him]] and [[EmoTeen Hamlet.]]
* OnlySaneMan: That's probably why he's the only main character ''alive'' at the end.
* SecretKeeper: Swore an oath with Hamlet concerning the Ghost of Old Hamlet.
* TogetherInDeath: Attempted at the end, but a dying Hamlet stops him.

!!Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

* AmbiguouslyGay: Especially in Franco Zeffirelli's version.
* KarmicDeath: SubvertedTrope. The play never gives ''any'' indication whatsoever that Claudius made them aware of his plan for them to become complicit in their old friend Hamlet's execution ([[FridgeLogic and to be perfectly honest, it doesn't really make sense for him to have done so, either]].) [[PoorCommunicationKills But Hamlet doesn't know this]], [[MagnificentBastard and switches the missive they are transporting to England for the king to one which calls for the bearers' executions]], [[KickTheDog then rather callously leaves them to die.]]
* MoralDissonance: They're not bad people, they're just a couple of sycophants who are ''really'' (and obliviously) in over their heads. [[KickTheDog Hamlet has both of them]] '''[[DisproportionateRetribution murdered.]]''' And you're not supposed to feel sorry for them.
* PerspectiveFlip: ''RosencrantzAndGuildensternAreDead''.
* ShooOutTheClowns: Gotten rid of by the end of Act IV to make way for the seriousness to come. Hamlet being what it is, this in naturally done by killing them both off.
* ThoseTwoGuys: The UrExample.

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