Main Characters' Ages : LUSENET : Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet : One Thread

Just a question for you Hamlet old are Hamlet, Gertrude, and Claudius in the play? I've read that some say that Hamlet is 30+, others say he is 18; what is your conclusion?

-- Lauren (, June 07, 2003



-- catherine england (, June 07, 2003.


-- Patrick Walker (, June 08, 2003.

Lmao, not quite sure between you all. I think the answer to this is that we'll never know.

-- Rachel Hatton (, July 16, 2003.

I'm interested to know why you all think this?

-- Sarah Tittlemouse (, July 21, 2003.

Because it says so in the text, Sarah. And where are you anyway? You should have been round my house 30 minutes ago.

-- Patrick Walker (, July 26, 2003.

But more often than that, the text says that Hamlet is young, in the prime of youth, etc..

-- catherine england (, July 26, 2003.

It also seems to me to say that he's still growing, and, pretty much, that he's just discovering his sexuality. At 30? Hmm ... . (See especially I.iii.5-16.)

-- catherine england (, July 26, 2003.

Yes, I understand that, but it still says he is thirty. Heh heh.

-- Patrick Walker (, July 27, 2003.

Where the hell does it say he's 30? I've just searched everywhere...

-- Rachel Hatton (, August 02, 2003.

Yawn. Look at the gravedigger scene, Rachel. The gravedigger says that he has been a gravemaker since "our last King Hamlet overcame was the very day that young Hamlet was born". Then a few lines later he says that he has been "Sexton here, man and boy, thirty years". I am sure you can work that one out.

Though to be honest, though I have been stubbornly insistent that "Hamlet must be thirty because the text says so", in my heart of heart, I do like to agree with Catherine on this matter. I think him to be about 18 years old. As a 'rites of passage'; a 'coming of age' and journey of self discovery that the play is, Hamlet needs to be at such an age, I feel.

-- Patrick Walker (, August 02, 2003.

Okay, so make me look like an idiot, see if I care. But thanks for letting me know anyway.

I would have to agree with Catherine also. I thought of him as about 21.

I didn't actually like the gravedigger scene. I had loved to play up to that point. I thought that when Hamlet returned he became all 'weak', soft if you may. I loved the cynical, revengeful Hamlet much more, and thought that the writing and action surround him was much better.

-- Rachel Hatton (, August 02, 2003.

Well thank you both, I'm honoured. No really, it isn't idiocy, Rachel. In fact, I'm encouraged by your difficulty. It occurs to me that WS might well have meant it to be that elusive, especially since his audiences didn't read the play in detail, but sat and watched it fly in front of them. In this mode, the impression of the whole, by which Hamlet is younger, would have more impact than the gravedigger's spaced lines. That actually supports the notion suggested by Jenkins that whatever the figure '30' symbolizes, it isn't Hamlet's age. Perhaps the number was used as we would say, 'I've been here an age', or 'for ages'.

-- catherine england (, August 02, 2003.

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