There is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Or, as Shakespeare put it in Sonnet 59, "If there be nothing new, but that which is Hath been before, how are our brains beguiled, Which, labouring for invention, bear amiss The second burden of a former child." I watched The River not knowing what to expect. All I knew was that Spielberg was involved and that it had to do with a missing guy on the Amazon. I didn't even know it was supernatural/horror, so I was pleasantly surprised with how it developed. Moreso when I realized it is basically a retelling of Hamlet. Here are the characters from Hamlet, and how they match up to the characters of The River (descriptions of the Shakespearean characters taken from SparkNotes): Hamlet - The Prince of Denmark, the title character, and the protagonist. About thirty years old at the start of the play, Hamlet is the son of Queen Gertrude and the late King Hamlet, and the nephew of the present king, Claudius. Hamlet is melancholy, bitter, and cynical, full of hatred for his uncle's scheming and disgust for his mother's sexuality. Hamlet is often indecisive and hesitant, but at other times prone to rash and impulsive acts. Lincoln Cole fills this role. Like Hamlet, he's back from school and is introduced as dealing with his father's death on a deep emotional level. Claudius - The King of Denmark, Hamlet's uncle, and the play's antagonist. The villain of the play, Claudius is a calculating, ambitious politician, driven by his sexual appetites and his lust for power, but he occasionally shows signs of guilt and human feeling--his love for Gertrude, for instance, seems sincere. This is Clark, the producer. Gertrude - The Queen of Denmark, Hamlet's mother, recently married to Claudius. Gertrude loves Hamlet deeply, but she is a shallow, weak woman who seeks affection and status more urgently than moral rectitude or truth. This is Tess Cole, Lincoln's mother and Emmet's wife. Note that Lincoln has a big scene where he accuses his mother of infidelity in the wake of his father's passing and asserts that her main motivating force is guilt. ("Out out damn spot!"). She's had an affair with Clark. (I can't recall if I intuited that, or if it was stated outright in the episode). Horatio - Hamlet's close friend. Horatio is loyal and helpful to Hamlet throughout the play. After Hamlet's death, Horatio remains alive to tell Hamlet's story. This is Lena, Lincoln's childhood friend, the daughter of the missing cameraman. Ophelia - a beautiful young woman. Ophelia is a sweet and innocent young girl. Even in her lapse into madness and death, she remains maidenly, singing songs about flowers and finally drowning in the river amid the flower garlands she had gathered. This is Jahel, the young spanish girl that channels Emmet's spirit. The Ghost - The specter of Hamlet's recently deceased father. The ghost, who claims to have been murdered by Claudius, calls upon Hamlet to avenge him. However, it is not entirely certain whether the ghost is what it appears to be, or whether it is something else. Hamlet speculates that the ghost might be a devil sent to deceive him and tempt him into murder, and the question of what the ghost is or where it comes from is never definitively resolved. This is Emmet's spirit, seen in the second episode via Jahel. The Undiscovered Country - ""An undiscovered country whose bourne no travelers return - puzzles the will" In Hamlet, this refers to death. It's the name of Emmet Cole's television show.