Claudius: King of Denmark and uncle to Hamlet, Claudius has recently taken the widowed Queen Gertrude (Hamlet’s mother) to wife after having seized the Danish throne. He is a man who lusts for power and will do whatever is needed to protect himself.
Hamlet: Son of Queen Gertrude and the late King Hamlet and nephew of the present king, Hamlet is a reflective university student and apparent heir to the throne of Denmark. His grief at his father’s death is only deepened by his mother’s hasty remarriage to his uncle and his seeming betrayal by Ophelia, whom he loves.
Polonius: Lord Chamberlain and father to Laertes and Ophelia, Polonius is not always wise in his counsel to his children, but he is a devoted father. As lord chamberlain, he is a clumsy plotter and often a man in love with the sound of his own voice.
Gertrude: Queen of Denmark and mother of Hamlet, Gertrude is a devoted mother but is probably naïve as to the wiles of her new husband.
Ophelia: Daughter of Polonius, Ophelia is innocent, childlike, and weak. She loves Hamlet but is easily swayed by her father’s influence and her brother Laertes’s counsel.
Ghost of Hamlet’s Father
Horatio: A fellow student, scholar, and friend of Hamlet
Laertes: Son of Polonius, Laertes is a lifelong associate and friend of Hamlet, having grown up in the same general environment. A foil to Hamlet, he is more the youthful libertine and is prone to hasty reaction. He is a devoted son and brother.
Voltemand: A courtier
Cornelius: A courtier
Rosencrantz: A courtier and one of the guards who is to escort Hamlet to England
Guildenstern: A courtier and one of the guards who is to escort Hamlet to England.
Osric: A courtier, but a dandy and a fop
Gentleman: A courtier
Marcellus: An officer, Marcellus is one of the castle guards who first encounters the ghost of Hamlet’s father.
Bernardo: An officer, Berrnardo is another of those who first encounters the ghost of Hamlet’s father.
Fortinbras: Prince of Norway, Fortinbras, like Hamlet, is a young man who feels he must avenge his father’s death.
Clowns, Gravediggers: They provide a needed comic relief and the gravedigger affords Hamlet the environment for one of his more famous quotes.