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Hamlet and the Concept of Character Like the life of any contained society, writes Bert O States, the phenomenal life of character reveals itself in a process of endurance, repetition, and interchange within a world that has a coherent character in itself and makes consistent demands on its citizens One cannot study character thoroughly by making spot behavioral checks Likening his approach to that of a field anthropologist conducting a long term study of a single society, States explores the nature of dramatic character by examining the inhabitants of one of the world s best known plays In the first part of Hamlet and the Concept of Character, States lays the theoretical groundwork by exploring such topics as the relationship of character change to character persistence the theory of traits the interplay between character and environment and the problem of the humors and their obvious connection to Hamlet The second part examines the significance of the major characters of the play King Hamlet, Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, Laertes, Ophelia, and Horatio in the formation of the Hamlet mystery