Existentialism as a Part of Hamlet

“This above all, to thine own self be true” (1.3.88). As Polonius offers this advice to his departing son Laertes, he also states one of the defining principles of the philosophical branch known collectively as existentialism. A paradigm firmly rooted in the individual experience, existentialism champions responsibility and states that man is nothing but the … Read more

Vengeance and Its Consequences in the Tragedy

“Hamlet challenges the conventions of revenge tragedy by deviating from them” (Sydney Bolt, 1985) The typical Elizabethan theatre-goer attending the first production of ‘Hamlet’ in 1604 would have had clear expectations. The conventions of Elizabethan revenge tragedy were already well established, drawn initially from the Senacan model of revenge tragedy, which combined bloody and treacherous … Read more

Reason in Comparison with Conscience: Stoicism

In Hamlet, the philosophy and ideas of Stoicism make their appearance onstage and shape the themes and dialogue of the play. Stoicism, which praises the superiority of reason and civilization over the more base element of emotion, is the backbone of much of the conflict in Hamlet. Hamlet’s dedication to his Stoic beliefs ends up … Read more

The Guiltiness of Hamlet’s Mother Gertrude

Elizabeth Fowler Drama Essay / Eng 113-700 April 28, 2006 In William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” Queen Gertrude’s culpability of King Hamlet’s death has been the subject of much debate. Although her guilt or innocence in this matter is arguable, her culpability of many other deaths is also a subject worth investigating. Queen Gertrude is a woman … Read more

The First Tragedy’s Soliloquy

Hamlet’s soliloquy in Act 1 Scene II is his first of the play and, as a consequence, allows the audience to see his inner thoughts for the first time. The subjects of this soliloquy are numerous: his father’s death, his mother’s response to this death, his mother’s remarriage to his uncle and Hamlet’s own sense … Read more

The Kite Runner and Hamlet

The Kite Runner is a book written by Khaled Hosseini in the year 2003. The author of the book is an Afghan-American who tells the story of Amir who is a small boy from the district of Kabul. The novel exposes many themes based on the Afghanistan customs and cultural practices. The book has many … Read more

How Does Hamlet Disrupt Himself?

Alone in his childhood home, his father buried and his mother married to another man, Hamlet laments, “O that this too too sullied flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itself into dew” (1.2.129-30). Hamlet brings up suicide early in Act I and ponders it throughout the play. He not only considers the idea, but intentionally … Read more

The Justification of Revenge and Unwillingness of Hamlet to Avenge His Father’s Death

Introduction The theme of revenge keeps recurring in William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. Most of the revenge missions that different characters in the play undertake end up in tragedy. Although Hamlet, the main character, contemplates revenging his father’s murder, he considers the tragedy that will result from his actions and therefore, he tries to rescind his … Read more

Hamlet and Its Duplicity of Morality

The author Izaak Walton noted, “The person that loses their conscience has nothing left worth keeping.” The characters in Hamlet constantly struggle with the power of their consciences, as they are tempted to satiate their innermost desires. Hamlet, the prince of Denmark, is the epitome of the power of conscience in the play. Although at … Read more

The Concept of Insanity in Macbeth and Hamlet

Hamlet and Macbeth are two of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays. Each share not only fame, however, but format: Both feature main characters with tragic flaws that become their demise. In the cases of Hamlet and Macbeth, this flaw is madness. Whether their insanity is feigned or unfeigned, it plays a key role in their … Read more

The Question of Hamlet's Madness

Insanity is defined as doing something over and over again and expecting a different outcome. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the young and not fully mature Hamlet might be thought of as insane. However, although he says and does things that are out of the ordinary, he is not doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome. It … Read more

Hamlet: The Significance of Playing

In his powerful play, “Hamlet,” William Shakespeare utilizes the theme of playacting as a medium through which Hamlet can make political statements, as well as shield himself in supposed madness. Hamlet uses plays to not only inform Claudius that someone knows his secret, but also as a way to maneuver through different situations, so that … Read more

Hamlet: Thinking and Ideas as Inaction in the Tragedy

“Understanding kills action.” With these three simple words, Nietzsche explains the idea behind Shakespeare’s development of the acting of thought as inaction, and also the reason that Hamlet hesitates for over 3000 lines of blank verse and prose to avenge the murder of his father. The motif of delay and inaction as thought can be … Read more

The First Tragedy’s Soliloquy

Hamlet’s soliloquy in Act 1 Scene II is his first of the play and, as a consequence, allows the audience to see his inner thoughts for the first time. The subjects of this soliloquy are numerous: his father’s death, his mother’s response to this death, his mother’s remarriage to his uncle and Hamlet’s own sense … Read more

Hamlet and revenge

In Shakespeare’s play, the protagonist, Hamlet, is faced with the mission of avenging his father. He decides to act mad as part of his plan to kill Claudius and avenge his father. As the plot of the play rises, his madness becomes more and more believable. The readers know that Hamlet is acting mad because … Read more

Ophelia Redetermining. Gender and Insanity of Society

I. Introduction Past critics have deemed Ophelia an insignificant and marginal character in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, functioning only to further define Hamlet. One such critic, Jacques Lacan, interprets Ophelia as a mere object of Hamlet’s sexual desire: she is essential only because she is inextricably linked to Hamlet. Literary criticism denies Ophelia a story and purpose … Read more

Hamlet and Its Duplicity of Morality

The author Izaak Walton noted, “The person that loses their conscience has nothing left worth keeping.” The characters in Hamlet constantly struggle with the power of their consciences, as they are tempted to satiate their innermost desires. Hamlet, the prince of Denmark, is the epitome of the power of conscience in the play. Although at … Read more

Hamlet: Heaven in Hopes or Death of the Death Itself?

A common interpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, based on the widely read Folio edition of the text, is that the titular character is motivated by darkness, exhibiting depression and suicidal tendencies. The young prince often refers to suicide, and his soliloquies contain language that indicates that thoughts of death and suicide heavily impact his mentality. However, … Read more

Movie Interpretations of the "Hamlet" Tragedy

How many different interpretations can be derived from one source? Due to the ubiquitous distinctions that exist within each person, the result we perceive from an event changes with each individual perception. Out of the various editions of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 version pairs historic visuals to the original script. Equally critically acclaimed … Read more

Humanistic Side of Hamlet

Hamlet: A Picture of Renaissance Humanism The renaissance was an era of great change in philosophical thought and morality. Before the 15th century, monastic scholasticism had dominated European thinking. Monasticism’s emphasis on a black and white system of morality, which relied on a dogmatic and narrow interpretation of Christian theology, created a system that valued … Read more

Female Characters of "Hamlet" Composition

A statistician would balk at the idea of analyzing women in Hamlet: as there are only two members of the fairer sex in the entire cast, surely any observations drawn are unreliable. However, when approaching Hamlet, it is best to remember that numbers and statistics can never fully explain the motives of people who are … Read more

Hamlet: Analysis of Shakespeare's Main Character

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1600-01), regarded by many scholars and critics as his finest play, is based on the story of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, which first appeared in the Historia Danica, a Latin text by the twelfth-century historian Saxo Grammaticus. The main protagonist, being Hamlet, the so-called “Dark Prince” of Shakespearean tragedy, is an extremely … Read more

Reasonable Waiting or Unjustified Delaying?

The central conflict in Shakespeare’s Hamlet is between the title character’s high moral standards and his quest for the truth. Arising from this conflict is what many would agree is the quintessential problem of the play: Why does Hamlet delay in avenging his father’s death? There is no doubt that he does in fact delay, … Read more

“ACT”: The Theme of "Acting" in Hamlet

Beginning with Hamlet’s encounter with his father’s ghost, Shakespeare introduces a line of “action” which his hero then follows throughout the narrative. From missed opportunities to sporadic bursts of movement and progression, Hamlet initially struggles with his stagnancy in change and his reluctance to challenge the present and the secure. Much of his inhibition stems … Read more

Literature Foils: Contrasting Characters in "Hamlet"

Literary techniques evoke images, emotion and in the case of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” teach a lesson. The dominant literary technique ongoing throughout “Hamlet” is the presence of foils. A foil is a character who, through strong contrast and striking similarities, underscores the protagonist’s distinctive characteristics. Hamlet shares many distinct characteristics and situations with both Laertes, son … Read more

The Collapse of Relationships in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ted Hughes’ Birthday Letters, and Ian McEwan’s Atonement

Expectation My Great-Aunt Melon gave me a lime green shirt with a bedazzled pickle splashed across the chest for my fifteenth birthday. It also rained. I wasn’t shocked or sad at all. It had rained on my birthday every year for the past fourteen. Mom even said there was a thunderstorm the day I was … Read more

The Portrayal of the To Be or Not To Be… Soliloquy by Kenneth Branagh and Ethan Hawke in the Hamlet Film Adaptations

Film Comparison Hamlet is suppose to avenge his fathers death but things get in his way and prevent him from doing so, causing more stress to his life. Hamlet’s problems cause him to debate his existence. During the soliloquy, Hamlet is debating to kill himself, but in the end determines people are too cowardly to … Read more

Ophelia as Shakespeare’s Character of the Tragedy

Ophelia’s situation in Shakespeare’s Hamlet not only invokes pity in the reader but also provides an example of the nature of men and women and accentuates Hamlet’s tragic flaws. Shakespeare so beautifully links the female with the liquid, insanity, and frailty through this character that we often fail to realize the underlying message he intended … Read more