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Flashcards in Hamlet Critics Deck (4)
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W. Hazlitt

"Hamlet is a little a hero as a man can well be"

"He seems incapable of deliberate action, and is only hurried into extremities on the spur of the occasion"

"because he cannot have his revenge perfect [...] he declines it altogether"

Laertes: "he is too hot and choleric, and somewhat rhodomontade"

Polonius: "Polonius is a perfect character in its kind [...] he acts very foolishly and talks very sensibly"

Ophelia: "he could neither marry Ophelia, nor wound her mind by explaining the cause of his alienation"


W. Rader

"It is chiefly remembered for its brilliant bits of wisdom, its noble eloquence, and the keen psychological study Shakespeare makes of the character of Hamlet"

"His character is marked by irresolution and hesitancy"

"He is the man who is under a cross which is too heavy for him"

"Irresolution, doubt, hesitation and morbidness resulted in a mistaken and hasty action - the murder of the wrong man!"


A. C. Bradley

"In sparing the King, he sacrifices Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Laertes, the Queen and himself"

Polonius' murder: "here Hamlet is already excited and in action, and the chance comes to him so suddenly that he has no time to 'scan' it"

"Hamlet hates his uncle and acknowledges the duty of vengeance, his whole heart is never in this feeling or this task; but his whole heart is in his horror at his mother's fall and in his longing to raise her"

"he plays with words and ideas chiefly in order to mystify, thwart and annoy"


A. Mallibard

"Hamlet is a man of radical contradictions - he is reckless yet cautious, courteous yet uncivil, tender yet ferocious"

Ophelia: "Hamlet must be held accountable for his treatment of Ophelia [...] Ophelia is the only outlet for the hostility he must keep secret from the King"

"When he returns from exile in Act V, we see a very different Hamlet. He is calm, rational, and less afraid of death than merely indifferent. He has come to the realization that destiny in ultimately controlling of all our lives"

Claudius: "When we first see Claudius, he strikes us as an intelligent and capable ruler"

Horatio: "[Horatio] is the outside observer to the madness"