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Essays on Hamlet

Hamlet essay topics and outline examples, essay title 1: the tragic hero in "hamlet": analyzing the complex character of prince hamlet.

Thesis Statement: This essay delves into the character of Prince Hamlet in Shakespeare's "Hamlet," examining his tragic flaws, internal conflicts, and the intricate web of relationships that contribute to his downfall, ultimately highlighting his status as a classic tragic hero.

  • Introduction
  • Defining Tragic Heroes: Characteristics and Literary Tradition
  • The Complex Psychology of Prince Hamlet: Ambiguity, Doubt, and Melancholy
  • The Ghost's Revelation: Hamlet's Quest for Justice and Revenge
  • The Theme of Madness: Feigned or Real?
  • Hamlet's Relationships: Ophelia, Gertrude, Claudius, and Horatio
  • The Tragic Climax: The Duel, Poisoned Foils, and Fatal Consequences

Essay Title 2: "Hamlet" as a Reflection of Political Intrigue: Power, Corruption, and the Tragedy of Denmark

Thesis Statement: This essay explores the political dimensions of Shakespeare's "Hamlet," analyzing the themes of power, corruption, and political manipulation as portrayed in the play, and their impact on the fate of the characters and the kingdom of Denmark.

  • The Political Landscape of Denmark: Claudius's Ascension to the Throne
  • The Machiavellian Villainy of Claudius: Murder, Deception, and Ambition
  • Hamlet's Struggle for Justice: The Role of Political Morality
  • The Foils of Polonius and Laertes: Pawns in Political Games
  • The Fate of Denmark: Chaos, Rebellion, and the Climactic Tragedy
  • Shakespeare's Political Commentary: Lessons for Society

Essay Title 3: "Hamlet" in a Contemporary Context: Adaptations, Interpretations, and the Play's Enduring Relevance

Thesis Statement: This essay examines modern adaptations and interpretations of "Hamlet," exploring how the themes, characters, and dilemmas presented in the play continue to resonate with audiences today, making "Hamlet" a timeless and relevant work of literature.

  • From Stage to Screen: Iconic Film and Theater Productions of "Hamlet"
  • Contemporary Readings: Gender, Race, and Identity in "Hamlet" Interpretations
  • Psychological and Existential Interpretations: Hamlet's Inner Turmoil in the Modern World
  • Relevance in the 21st Century: Themes of Revenge, Justice, and Moral Dilemma
  • Adapting "Hamlet" for New Audiences: Outreach, Education, and Cultural Engagement
  • Conclusion: The Timelessness of "Hamlet" and Its Place in Literature

Review of Hamlet by William Shakespeare

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The Representation of Madness in Shakespeare's Text, Hamlet

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Misogyny and Female Representation in Hamlet

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Death and Revenge in Hamlet, a Play by William Shakespeare

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1603, William Shakespeare

Play; Shakespearean tragedy

Hamlet, Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius

The play Hamlet is the most cited work in the English language and is often included in the lists of the world's greatest literature.

"Frailty, thy name is woman!" "Brevity' is the soul of wit" "To be, or not to be, that is the question" "I must be cruel to be kind" "Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. To me, it is a prison."

1. Wright, G. T. (1981). Hendiadys and Hamlet. PMLA, 96(2), 168-193. (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/pmla/article/abs/hendiadys-and-hamlet/B61A80FAB6569984AB68096FE483D4FB) 2. Leverenz, D. (1978). The woman in Hamlet: An interpersonal view. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 4(2), 291-308. (https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/493608?journalCode=signs) 3. Lesser, Z., & Stallybrass, P. (2008). The first literary Hamlet and the commonplacing of professional plays. Shakespeare Quarterly, 59(4), 371-420. (https://academic.oup.com/sq/article-abstract/59/4/371/5064575) 4. De Grazia, M. (2001). Hamlet before its Time. MLQ: Modern Language Quarterly, 62(4), 355-375. (https://muse.jhu.edu/article/22909) 5. Calderwood, J. L. (1983). To be and not to be. Negation and Metadrama in Hamlet. In To Be and Not to Be. Negation and Metadrama in Hamlet. Columbia University Press. (https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.7312/cald94400/html) 6. Kastan, D. S. (1987). " His semblable is his mirror":" Hamlet" and the Imitation of Revenge. Shakespeare Studies, 19, 111. (https://www.proquest.com/openview/394df477873b27246b71f83d3939c672/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1819311) 7. Neill, M. (1983). Remembrance and Revenge: Hamlet, Macbeth and The Tempest. Jonson and Shakespeare, 35-56. (https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-349-06183-9_3) 8. Gates, S. (2008). Assembling the Ophelia fragments: gender, genre, and revenge in Hamlet. Explorations in Renaissance Culture, 34(2), 229-248. (https://go.gale.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA208534875&sid=googleScholar&v=2.1&it=r&linkaccess=abs&issn=00982474&p=AONE&sw=w&userGroupName=anon%7Eebb234db)

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Jeffrey R. Wilson

Essays on hamlet.

Essays On Hamlet

Written as the author taught Hamlet every semester for a decade, these lightning essays ask big conceptual questions about the play with the urgency of a Shakespeare lover, and answer them with the rigor of a Shakespeare scholar. In doing so, Hamlet becomes a lens for life today, generating insights on everything from xenophobia, American fraternities, and religious fundamentalism to structural misogyny, suicide contagion, and toxic love.

Prioritizing close reading over historical context, these explorations are highly textual and highly theoretical, often philosophical, ethical, social, and political. Readers see King Hamlet as a pre-modern villain, King Claudius as a modern villain, and Prince Hamlet as a post-modern villain. Hamlet’s feigned madness becomes a window into failed insanity defenses in legal trials. He knows he’s being watched in “To be or not to be”: the soliloquy is a satire of philosophy. Horatio emerges as Shakespeare’s authorial avatar for meta-theatrical commentary, Fortinbras as the hero of the play. Fate becomes a viable concept for modern life, and honor a source of tragedy. The metaphor of music in the play makes Ophelia Hamlet’s instrument. Shakespeare, like the modern corporation, stands against sexism, yet perpetuates it unknowingly. We hear his thoughts on single parenting, sending children off to college, and the working class, plus his advice on acting and writing, and his claims to be the next Homer or Virgil. In the context of four centuries of Hamlet hate, we hear how the text draws audiences in, how it became so famous, and why it continues to captivate audiences.

At a time when the humanities are said to be in crisis, these essays are concrete examples of the mind-altering power of literature and literary studies, unravelling the ongoing implications of the English language’s most significant artistic object of the past millennium.


Why is Hamlet the most famous English artwork of the past millennium? Is it a sexist text? Why does Hamlet speak in prose? Why must he die? Does Hamlet depict revenge, or justice? How did the death of Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet, transform into a story about a son dealing with the death of a father? Did Shakespeare know Aristotle’s theory of tragedy? How did our literary icon, Shakespeare, see his literary icons, Homer and Virgil? Why is there so much comedy in Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy? Why is love a force of evil in the play? Did Shakespeare believe there’s a divinity that shapes our ends? How did he define virtue? What did he think about psychology? politics? philosophy? What was Shakespeare’s image of himself as an author? What can he, arguably the greatest writer of all time, teach us about our own writing? What was his theory of literature? Why do people like Hamlet ? How do the Hamlet haters of today compare to those of yesteryears? Is it dangerous for our children to read a play that’s all about suicide? 

These are some of the questions asked in this book, a collection of essays on Shakespeare’s Hamlet stemming from my time teaching the play every semester in my Why Shakespeare? course at Harvard University. During this time, I saw a series of bright young minds from wildly diverse backgrounds find their footing in Hamlet, and it taught me a lot about how Shakespeare’s tragedy works, and why it remains with us in the modern world. Beyond ghosts, revenge, and tragedy, Hamlet is a play about being in college, being in love, gender, misogyny, friendship, theater, philosophy, theology, injustice, loss, comedy, depression, death, self-doubt, mental illness, white privilege, overbearing parents, existential angst, international politics, the classics, the afterlife, and the meaning of it all. 

These essays grow from the central paradox of the play: it helps us understand the world we live in, yet we don't really understand the text itself very well. For all the attention given to Hamlet , there’s no consensus on the big questions—how it works, why it grips people so fiercely, what it’s about. These essays pose first-order questions about what happens in Hamlet and why, mobilizing answers for reflections on life, making the essays both highly textual and highly theoretical. 

Each semester that I taught the play, I would write a new essay about Hamlet . They were meant to be models for students, the sort of essay that undergrads read and write – more rigorous than the puff pieces in the popular press, but riskier than the scholarship in most academic journals. While I later added scholarly outerwear, these pieces all began just like the essays I was assigning to students – as short close readings with a reader and a text and a desire to determine meaning when faced with a puzzling question or problem. 

The turn from text to context in recent scholarly books about Hamlet is quizzical since we still don’t have a strong sense of, to quote the title of John Dover Wilson’s 1935 book, What Happens in Hamlet. Is the ghost real? Is Hamlet mad, or just faking? Why does he delay? These are the kinds of questions students love to ask, but they haven’t been – can’t be – answered by reading the play in the context of its sources (recently addressed in Laurie Johnson’s The Tain of Hamlet [2013]), its multiple texts (analyzed by Paul Menzer in The Hamlets [2008] and Zachary Lesser in Hamlet after Q1 [2015]), the Protestant reformation (the focus of Stephen Greenblatt’s Hamlet in Purgatory [2001] and John E. Curran, Jr.’s Hamlet, Protestantism, and the Mourning of Contingency [2006]), Renaissance humanism (see Rhodri Lewis, Hamlet and the Vision of Darkness [2017]), Elizabethan political theory (see Margreta de Grazia, Hamlet without Hamlet [2007]), the play’s reception history (see David Bevington, Murder Most Foul: Hamlet through the Ages [2011]), its appropriation by modern philosophers (covered in Simon Critchley and Jamieson Webster’s The Hamlet Doctrine [2013] and Andrew Cutrofello’s All for Nothing: Hamlet’s Negativity [2014]), or its recent global travels (addressed, for example, in Margaret Latvian’s Hamlet’s Arab Journey [2011] and Dominic Dromgoole’s Hamlet Globe to Globe [2017]). 

Considering the context and afterlives of Hamlet is a worthy pursuit. I certainly consulted the above books for my essays, yet the confidence that comes from introducing context obscures the sharp panic we feel when confronting Shakespeare’s text itself. Even as the excellent recent book from Sonya Freeman Loftis, Allison Kellar, and Lisa Ulevich announces Hamlet has entered “an age of textual exhaustion,” there’s an odd tendency to avoid the text of Hamlet —to grasp for something more firm—when writing about it. There is a need to return to the text in a more immediate way to understand how Hamlet operates as a literary work, and how it can help us understand the world in which we live. 

That latter goal, yes, clings nostalgically to the notion that literature can help us understand life. Questions about life send us to literature in search of answers. Those of us who love literature learn to ask and answer questions about it as we become professional literary scholars. But often our answers to the questions scholars ask of literature do not connect back up with the questions about life that sent us to literature in the first place—which are often philosophical, ethical, social, and political. Those first-order questions are diluted and avoided in the minutia of much scholarship, left unanswered. Thus, my goal was to pose questions about Hamlet with the urgency of a Shakespeare lover and to answer them with the rigor of a Shakespeare scholar. 

In doing so, these essays challenge the conventional relationship between literature and theory. They pursue a kind of criticism where literature is not merely the recipient of philosophical ideas in the service of exegesis. Instead, the creative risks of literature provide exemplars to be theorized outward to help us understand on-going issues in life today. Beyond an occasion for the demonstration of existing theory, literature is a source for the creation of new theory.

Chapter One How Hamlet Works

Whether you love or hate Hamlet , you can acknowledge its massive popularity. So how does Hamlet work? How does it create audience enjoyment? Why is it so appealing, and to whom? Of all the available options, why Hamlet ? This chapter entertains three possible explanations for why the play is so popular in the modern world: the literary answer (as the English language’s best artwork about death—one of the very few universal human experiences in a modern world increasingly marked by cultural differences— Hamlet is timeless); the theatrical answer (with its mixture of tragedy and comedy, the role of Hamlet requires the best actor of each age, and the play’s popularity derives from the celebrity of its stars); and the philosophical answer (the play invites, encourages, facilitates, and sustains philosophical introspection and conversation from people who do not usually do such things, who find themselves doing those things with Hamlet , who sometimes feel embarrassed about doing those things, but who ultimately find the experience of having done them rewarding).

Chapter Two “It Started Like a Guilty Thing”: The Beginning of Hamlet and the Beginning of Modern Politics

King Hamlet is a tyrant and King Claudius a traitor but, because Shakespeare asked us to experience the events in Hamlet from the perspective of the young Prince Hamlet, we are much more inclined to detect and detest King Claudius’s political failings than King Hamlet’s. If so, then Shakespeare’s play Hamlet , so often seen as the birth of modern psychology, might also tell us a little bit about the beginnings of modern politics as well.

Chapter Three Horatio as Author: Storytelling and Stoic Tragedy

This chapter addresses Horatio’s emotionlessness in light of his role as a narrator, using this discussion to think about Shakespeare’s motives for writing tragedy in the wake of his son’s death. By rationalizing pain and suffering as tragedy, both Horatio and Shakespeare were able to avoid the self-destruction entailed in Hamlet’s emotional response to life’s hardships and injustices. Thus, the stoic Horatio, rather than the passionate Hamlet who repeatedly interrupts ‘The Mousetrap’, is the best authorial avatar for a Shakespeare who strategically wrote himself and his own voice out of his works. This argument then expands into a theory of ‘authorial catharsis’ and the suggestion that we can conceive of Shakespeare as a ‘poet of reason’ in contrast to a ‘poet of emotion’.

Chapter Four “To thine own self be true”: What Shakespeare Says about Sending Our Children Off to College

What does “To thine own self be true” actually mean? Be yourself? Don’t change who you are? Follow your own convictions? Don’t lie to yourself? This chapter argues that, if we understand meaning as intent, then “To thine own self be true” means, paradoxically, that “the self” does not exist. Or, more accurately, Shakespeare’s Hamlet implies that “the self” exists only as a rhetorical, philosophical, and psychological construct that we use to make sense of our experiences and actions in the world, not as anything real. If this is so, then this passage may offer us a way of thinking about Shakespeare as not just a playwright but also a moral philosopher, one who did his ethics in drama.

Chapter Five In Defense of Polonius

Your wife dies. You raise two children by yourself. You build a great career to provide for your family. You send your son off to college in another country, though you know he’s not ready. Now the prince wants to marry your daughter—that’s not easy to navigate. Then—get this—while you’re trying to save the queen’s life, the prince murders you. Your death destroys your kids. They die tragically. And what do you get for your efforts? Centuries of Shakespeare scholars dumping on you. If we see Polonius not through the eyes of his enemy, Prince Hamlet—the point of view Shakespeare’s play asks audiences to adopt—but in analogy to the common challenges of twenty-first-century parenting, Polonius is a single father struggling with work-life balance who sadly choses his career over his daughter’s well-being.

Chapter Six Sigma Alpha Elsinore: The Culture of Drunkenness in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Claudius likes to party—a bit too much. He frequently binge drinks, is arguably an alcoholic, but not an aberration. Hamlet says Denmark is internationally known for heavy drinking. That’s what Shakespeare would have heard in the sixteenth century. By the seventeenth, English writers feared Denmark had taught their nation its drinking habits. Synthesizing criticism on alcoholism as an individual problem in Shakespeare’s texts and times with scholarship on national drinking habits in the early-modern age, this essay asks what the tragedy of alcoholism looks like when located not on the level of the individual, but on the level of a culture, as Shakespeare depicted in Hamlet. One window into these early-modern cultures of drunkenness is sociological studies of American college fraternities, especially the social-learning theories that explain how one person—one culture—teaches another its habits. For Claudius’s alcoholism is both culturally learned and culturally significant. And, as in fraternities, alcoholism in Hamlet is bound up with wealth, privilege, toxic masculinity, and tragedy. Thus, alcohol imagistically reappears in the vial of “cursed hebona,” Ophelia’s liquid death, and the poisoned cup in the final scene—moments that stand out in recent performances and adaptations with alcoholic Claudiuses and Gertrudes.

Chapter Seven Tragic Foundationalism

This chapter puts the modern philosopher Alain Badiou’s theory of foundationalism into dialogue with the early-modern playwright William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet . Doing so allows us to identify a new candidate for Hamlet’s traditionally hard-to-define hamartia – i.e., his “tragic mistake” – but it also allows us to consider the possibility of foundationalism as hamartia. Tragic foundationalism is the notion that fidelity to a single and substantive truth at the expense of an openness to evidence, reason, and change is an acute mistake which can lead to miscalculations of fact and virtue that create conflict and can end up in catastrophic destruction and the downfall of otherwise strong and noble people.

Chapter Eight “As a stranger give it welcome”: Shakespeare’s Advice for First-Year College Students

Encountering a new idea can be like meeting a strange person for the first time. Similarly, we dismiss new ideas before we get to know them. There is an answer to the problem of the human antipathy to strangeness in a somewhat strange place: a single line usually overlooked in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet . If the ghost is “wondrous strange,” Hamlet says, invoking the ancient ethics of hospitality, “Therefore as a stranger give it welcome.” In this word, strange, and the social conventions attached to it, is both the instinctual, animalistic fear and aggression toward what is new and different (the problem) and a cultivated, humane response in hospitality and curiosity (the solution). Intellectual xenia is the answer to intellectual xenophobia.

Chapter Nine Parallels in Hamlet

Hamlet is more parallely than other texts. Fortinbras, Hamlet, and Laertes have their fathers murdered, then seek revenge. Brothers King Hamlet and King Claudius mirror brothers Old Norway and Old Fortinbras. Hamlet and Ophelia both lose their fathers, go mad, but there’s a method in their madness, and become suicidal. King Hamlet and Polonius are both domineering fathers. Hamlet and Polonius are both scholars, actors, verbose, pedantic, detectives using indirection, spying upon others, “by indirections find directions out." King Hamlet and King Claudius are both kings who are killed. Claudius using Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on Hamlet mirrors Polonius using Reynaldo to spy on Laertes. Reynaldo and Hamlet both pretend to be something other than what they are in order to spy on and detect foes. Young Fortinbras and Prince Hamlet both have their forward momentum “arrest[ed].” Pyrrhus and Hamlet are son seeking revenge but paused a “neutral to his will.” The main plot of Hamlet reappears in the play-within-the-play. The Act I duel between King Hamlet and Old Fortinbras echoes in the Act V duel between Hamlet and Laertes. Claudius and Hamlet are both king killers. Sheesh—why are there so many dang parallels in Hamlet ? Is there some detectable reason why the story of Hamlet would call for the literary device of parallelism?

Chapter Ten Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: Why Hamlet Has Two Childhood Friends, Not Just One

Why have two of Hamlet’s childhood friends rather than just one? Do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have individuated personalities? First of all, by increasing the number of friends who visit Hamlet, Shakespeare creates an atmosphere of being outnumbered, of multiple enemies encroaching upon Hamlet, of Hamlet feeling that the world is against him. Second, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are not interchangeable, as commonly thought. Shakespeare gave each an individuated personality. Guildenstern is friendlier with Hamlet, and their friendship collapses, while Rosencrantz is more distant and devious—a frenemy.

Chapter Eleven Shakespeare on the Classics, Shakespeare as a Classic: A Reading of Aeneas’s Tale to Dido

Of all the stories Shakespeare might have chosen, why have Hamlet ask the players to recite Aeneas’ tale to Dido of Pyrrhus’s slaughter of Priam? In this story, which comes not from Homer’s Iliad but from Virgil’s Aeneid and had already been adapted for the Elizabethan stage in Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragedy of Dido, Pyrrhus – more commonly known as Neoptolemus, the son of the famous Greek warrior Achilles – savagely slays Priam, the king of the Trojans and the father of Paris, who killed Pyrrhus’s father, Achilles, who killed Paris’s brother, Hector, who killed Achilles’s comrade, Patroclus. Clearly, the theme of revenge at work in this story would have appealed to Shakespeare as he was writing what would become the greatest revenge tragedy of all time. Moreover, Aeneas’s tale to Dido supplied Shakespeare with all of the connections he sought to make at this crucial point in his play and his career – connections between himself and Marlowe, between the start of Hamlet and the end, between Prince Hamlet and King Claudius, between epic poetry and tragic drama, and between the classical literature Shakespeare was still reading hundreds of years later and his own potential as a classic who might (and would) be read hundreds of years into the future.

Chapter Twelve How Theater Works, according to Hamlet

According to Hamlet, people who are guilty of a crime will, when seeing that crime represented on stage, “proclaim [their] malefactions”—but that simply isn’t how theater works. Guilty people sit though shows that depict their crimes all the time without being prompted to public confession. Why did Shakespeare—a remarkably observant student of theater—write this demonstrably false theory of drama into his protagonist? And why did Shakespeare then write the plot of the play to affirm that obviously inaccurate vision of theater? For Claudius is indeed stirred to confession by the play-within-the-play. Perhaps Hamlet’s theory of people proclaiming malefactions upon seeing their crimes represented onstage is not as outlandish as it first appears. Perhaps four centuries of obsession with Hamlet is the English-speaking world proclaiming its malefactions upon seeing them represented dramatically.

Chapter Thirteen “To be, or not to be”: Shakespeare Against Philosophy

This chapter hazards a new reading of the most famous passage in Western literature: “To be, or not to be” from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet . With this line, Hamlet poses his personal struggle, a question of life and death, as a metaphysical problem, as a question of existence and nothingness. However, “To be, or not to be” is not what it seems to be. It seems to be a representation of tragic angst, yet a consideration of the context of the speech reveals that “To be, or not to be” is actually a satire of philosophy and Shakespeare’s representation of the theatricality of everyday life. In this chapter, a close reading of the context and meaning of this passage leads into an attempt to formulate a Shakespearean image of philosophy.

Chapter Fourteen Contagious Suicide in and Around Hamlet

As in society today, suicide is contagious in Hamlet , at least in the example of Ophelia, the only death by suicide in the play, because she only becomes suicidal after hearing Hamlet talk about his own suicidal thoughts in “To be, or not to be.” Just as there are media guidelines for reporting on suicide, there are better and worse ways of handling Hamlet . Careful suicide coverage can change public misperceptions and reduce suicide contagion. Is the same true for careful literary criticism and classroom discussion of suicide texts? How can teachers and literary critics reduce suicide contagion and increase help-seeking behavior?

Chapter Fifteen Is Hamlet a Sexist Text? Overt Misogyny vs. Unconscious Bias

Students and fans of Shakespeare’s Hamlet persistently ask a question scholars and critics of the play have not yet definitively answered: is it a sexist text? The author of this text has been described as everything from a male chauvinist pig to a trailblazing proto-feminist, but recent work on the science behind discrimination and prejudice offers a new, better vocabulary in the notion of unconscious bias. More pervasive and slippery than explicit bigotry, unconscious bias involves the subtle, often unintentional words and actions which indicate the presence of biases we may not be aware of, ones we may even fight against. The Shakespeare who wrote Hamlet exhibited an unconscious bias against women, I argue, even as he sought to critique the mistreatment of women in a patriarchal society. The evidence for this unconscious bias is not to be found in the misogynistic statements made by the characters in the play. It exists, instead, in the demonstrable preference Shakespeare showed for men over women when deciding where to deploy his literary talents. Thus, Shakespeare's Hamlet is a powerful literary example – one which speaks to, say, the modern corporation – showing that deliberate efforts for egalitarianism do not insulate one from the effects of structural inequalities that both stem from and create unconscious bias.

Chapter Sixteen Style and Purpose in Acting and Writing

Purpose and style are connected in academic writing. To answer the question of style ( How should we write academic papers? ) we must first answer the question of purpose ( Why do we write academic papers? ). We can answer these questions, I suggest, by turning to an unexpected style guide that’s more than 400 years old: the famous passage on “the purpose of playing” in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet . In both acting and writing, a high style often accompanies an expressive purpose attempting to impress an elite audience yet actually alienating intellectual people, while a low style and mimetic purpose effectively engage an intellectual audience.

Chapter Seventeen 13 Ways of Looking at a Ghost

Why doesn’t Gertrude see the Ghost of King Hamlet in Act III, even though Horatio, Bernardo, Francisco, Marcellus, and Prince Hamlet all saw it in Act I? It’s a bit embarrassing that Shakespeare scholars don’t have a widely agreed-upon consensus that explains this really basic question that puzzles a lot of people who read or see Hamlet .

Chapter Eighteen The Tragedy of Love in Hamlet

The word “love” appears 84 times in Shakespeare’s Hamlet . “Father” only appears 73 times, “play” 60, “think” 55, “mother” 46, “mad” 44, “soul” 40, “God" 39, “death” 38, “life” 34, “nothing” 28, “son” 26, “honor” 21, “spirit” 19, “kill” 18, “revenge” 14, and “action” 12. Love isn’t the first theme that comes to mind when we think of Hamlet , but is surprisingly prominent. But love is tragic in Hamlet . The bloody catastrophe at the end of that play is principally driven not by hatred or a longing for revenge, but by love.

Chapter Nineteen Ophelia’s Songs: Moral Agency, Manipulation, and the Metaphor of Music in Hamlet

This chapter reads Ophelia’s songs in Act IV of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the context of the meaning of music established elsewhere in the play. While the songs are usually seen as a marker of Ophelia’s madness (as a result of the death of her father) or freedom (from the constraints of patriarchy), they come – when read in light of the metaphor of music as manipulation – to symbolize her role as a pawn in Hamlet’s efforts to deceive his family. Thus, music was Shakespeare’s platform for connecting Ophelia’s story to one of the central questions in Hamlet : Do we have control over our own actions (like the musician), or are we controlled by others (like the instrument)?

Chapter Twenty A Quantitative Study of Prose and Verse in Hamlet

Why does Hamlet have so much prose? Did Shakespeare deliberately shift from verse to prose to signal something to his audiences? How would actors have handled the shifts from verse to prose? Would audiences have detected shifts from verse to prose? Is there an overarching principle that governs Shakespeare’s decision to use prose—a coherent principle that says, “If X, then use prose?”

Chapter Twenty-One The Fortunes of Fate in Hamlet : Divine Providence and Social Determinism

In Hamlet , fate is attacked from both sides: “fortune” presents a world of random happenstance, “will” a theory of efficacious human action. On this backdrop, this essay considers—irrespective of what the characters say and believe—what the structure and imagery Shakespeare wrote into Hamlet say about the possibility that some version of fate is at work in the play. I contend the world of Hamlet is governed by neither fate nor fortune, nor even the Christianized version of fate called “providence.” Yet there is a modern, secular, disenchanted form of fate at work in Hamlet—what is sometimes called “social determinism”—which calls into question the freedom of the individual will. As such, Shakespeare’s Hamlet both commented on the transformation of pagan fate into Christian providence that happened in the centuries leading up to the play, and anticipated the further transformation of fate from a theological to a sociological idea, which occurred in the centuries following Hamlet .

Chapter Twenty-Two The Working Class in Hamlet

There’s a lot for working-class folks to hate about Hamlet —not just because it’s old, dusty, difficult to understand, crammed down our throats in school, and filled with frills, tights, and those weird lace neck thingies that are just socially awkward to think about. Peak Renaissance weirdness. Claustrophobicly cloistered inside the castle of Elsinore, quaintly angsty over royal family problems, Hamlet feels like the literary epitome of elitism. “Lawless resolutes” is how the Wittenberg scholar Horatio describes the soldiers who join Fortinbras’s army in exchange “for food.” The Prince Hamlet who has never worked a day in his life denigrates Polonius as a “fishmonger”: quite the insult for a royal advisor to be called a working man. And King Claudius complains of the simplicity of "the distracted multitude.” But, in Hamlet , Shakespeare juxtaposed the nobles’ denigrations of the working class as readily available metaphors for all-things-awful with the rather valuable behavior of working-class characters themselves. When allowed to represent themselves, the working class in Hamlet are characterized as makers of things—of material goods and services like ships, graves, and plays, but also of ethical and political virtues like security, education, justice, and democracy. Meanwhile, Elsinore has a bad case of affluenza, the make-believe disease invented by an American lawyer who argued that his client's social privilege was so great that it created an obliviousness to law. While social elites rot society through the twin corrosives of political corruption and scholarly detachment, the working class keeps the machine running. They build the ships, plays, and graves society needs to function, and monitor the nuts-and-bolts of the ideals—like education and justice—that we aspire to uphold.

Chapter Twenty-Three The Honor Code at Harvard and in Hamlet

Students at Harvard College are asked, when they first join the school and several times during their years there, to affirm their awareness of and commitment to the school’s honor code. But instead of “the foundation of our community” that it is at Harvard, honor is tragic in Hamlet —a source of anxiety, blunder, and catastrophe. As this chapter shows, looking at Hamlet from our place at Harvard can bring us to see what a tangled knot honor can be, and we can start to theorize the difference between heroic and tragic honor.

Chapter Twenty-Four The Meaning of Death in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

By connecting the ways characters live their lives in Hamlet to the ways they die – on-stage or off, poisoned or stabbed, etc. – Shakespeare symbolized hamartia in catastrophe. In advancing this argument, this chapter develops two supporting ideas. First, the dissemination of tragic necessity: Shakespeare distributed the Aristotelian notion of tragic necessity – a causal relationship between a character’s hamartia (fault or error) and the catastrophe at the end of the play – from the protagonist to the other characters, such that, in Hamlet , those who are guilty must die, and those who die are guilty. Second, the spectacularity of death: there exists in Hamlet a positive correlation between the severity of a character’s hamartia (error or flaw) and the “spectacularity” of his or her death – that is, the extent to which it is presented as a visible and visceral spectacle on-stage.

Chapter Twenty-Five Tragic Excess in Hamlet

In Hamlet , Shakespeare paralleled the situations of Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras (the father of each is killed, and each then seeks revenge) to promote the virtue of moderation: Hamlet moves too slowly, Laertes too swiftly – and they both die at the end of the play – but Fortinbras represents a golden mean which marries the slowness of Hamlet with the swiftness of Laertes. As argued in this essay, Shakespeare endorsed the virtue of balance by allowing Fortinbras to be one of the very few survivors of the play. In other words, excess is tragic in Hamlet .


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OCR A-Level English Literature - Hamlet Exemplar Essays

OCR A-Level English Literature - Hamlet Exemplar Essays

Subject: English

Age range: 16+

Resource type: Assessment and revision

Dunni’s Shop

Last updated

3 September 2022

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hamlet exemplar essays

Following from the condensed revision notes for OCR English Literature Paper 1 – Hamlet.

The resource includes:

  • Two sets of essays Part a and b which I completed during mocks of year 12 and 13 (you can see the progression of my writing)

I have transcribed the essay but I have also included the actual exam paper if you prefer that (included some teachers comments and some adjustements I made)

With these notes you will be avle to knowhow tp structure your essays and hopefully see where you can improve and achieve top marks.

This is for the Drama and Poetry pre-1900 exam paper!

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Hamlet Essays

I. Introduction Hamlet is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, probably written in 1600 or 1601. It is often considered his supreme achievement, and one of the world’s greatest tragedies. Considered as one of the greatest of Shakespeare’s tragedies, Hamlet is also one of the best-known plays in world...

1 111 words

Grammaticus The problems related to the origin and sources of Hamlet are no less contentious and inconclusive than the philosophical, moral and structural problems traditionally associated with the play. The present day iconic status of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ often obscures the...

2 875 words

Q1) The character of Claudius can be recognized as the major antagonist in the play. Traits such as being cleverly evil, lustful, and conniving were the factors that won him the crown as the King of Denmark. As a king, Claudius focused on protecting his throne from being relinquished from him. He...

1 028 words

Shakespeare's characterization of Gertrude and Ophelia in Hamlet is paradoxical as it challenges as well as complements the contemporary social traditions and norms. Gertrude is the best example of this paradox that is manifested through her extraordinary supremacy over all the major characters of...

Hamlet is a character with whom most of us could relate not only because of his imperfections but also because of his insecurities. He is imperfect, he has his insecurities, but what is most remarkable in him is his goodness of heart which makes it very difficult for him to think ill of other...

1 569 words

I) Introduction A. Hamlet is the direct cause of the tragedy i. Charnes; “Hamlet Without Hamlet.” II) First appearance of Hamlet A. Hamlet’s lack of a sense of purpose B. Hamlet’s attempt to relieve his melancholy i. Udo and Fels; "’Suit the Action to the Word, the Word to the Action’: An...

1 780 words

Isabella is a woman with a seemingly over pious regard to herself and her virginity, placing the same over an individual’s life and liberty. This is made evident in her statement “Then, Isabel, live chaste, and, brother, die: More than our brother is our chastity (Measure for measure...

William Shakespeare is perhaps best known for being the father of plays. Of all playwrights, none can compare to Shakespeare’s style, creativity, and wit. A great example would be Hamlet which could perhaps be viewed as the best of all his plays. The lines of the play have been remembered in the...

2 243 words

Introduction When discussing “Hamlet”, whether in casual company, stage production or academic study, the conversation can quite literally go in a million different directions. Widely regarded as Shakepeare’s most complex play, Hamlet can in fact be deeply examined and extensively interpreted...

Aristotle has written numerous treatises about a variety of topics, one of which is his treatise on Poetics. In this treatise he discusses poetry and the construction of epics, but the treatise focuses heavily on the creation and the definition of a tragedy, especially on the development of the...

1 644 words

There are a number of reasons why Hamlet has remained a classic and one of these reasons is because of the great characterization that Shakespeare uses in the creation of his characters. It is because of these characters that the play comes alive and the reason why the audience is able to laugh...

It is chiefly character that is responsible for the tragic fate of the hero, but a Shakespearean tragedy also arouses a feeling that there is a mysterious power in this universe, whom we may call Fate or Destiny or Providence that operates in the universe and is responsible for the manner in which...

1 869 words

1. Hamlet, one of William Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies possesses an intense environment of uncertainty. This sense of “uncertainty” is governed primarily by the indecision and hesitation demonstrated by the protagonist, Hamlet, the prince of Denmark. He is always in two minds and cannot seem...

William Shakespeare once said that “action is eloquence”. Hamlet finds it easy to make a choice to avenge his father’s death, but is unable to execute this choice. Hamlet’s choices and inconsistencies in carrying them out is what will lead to multiple tragedies and ultimately, his redemption...

The 1996 film version of Hamlet directed and starred in by Kenneth Branagh in the title role is a faithful adaptation of William Shakespeare’s famous play. The exposition of the plot occupies the first few minutes of the story. It begins with the appearance of a ghost to the castle guards. This...

Hamlet is a well known character in the body of works of Shakespeare. The soliloquy signifies the derailed and arguments of a wearied soul trying to explain life and the consequences of hardships of thoughts' impacts on decision makings throughout life which end with the beginning of death and the...

1 276 words

Introduction In order to understand the role of the rites in Hamlet, one must conceptualize the ritual. The rites in Hamlet concern mainly marriage, mourning and funeral. It is crucial to distinguish their specific nature to detect how they participate in the tragedy. Arnold van Gennep identified...

2 602 words

The first soliloquy of Hamlet occurs (act I, scene ii, lines 129-59) after the King and the Queen have urged Hamlet in the open court to cast off the deep melancholy which, as they think, has taken possession of him as a consequence of his father’s death. In this soliloquy, Hamlet reveals the...

1 472 words

Introduction Every emotion and feeling of human beings is captured by literary works such as stories, novels and poems. The characters, plot and themes in the stories and novels bring forth the varied emotions experienced by human beings. Two such stories which focus on the feelings and emotions...

This student owes a great deal of intellectual debt to Louise Cowans thanks in great part to the theoretical criticism the author expressed in her introduction to The Comic Terrain. An example of the brilliance of her critical theory is found in an extended quotation from the work’s introduction...

2 026 words

The dilemma about the intrinsical meaning of the story about the Prince of Denmark is a perturbing issue of discussion. Question about whether Hamlet feels affection to Ophelia is still not answered because the author uses various evasive situations when readers get more and more confused. Those...

The significant tragedy “Hamlet” violates the eternal problems. Those problems are connected with the contradiction between action and ideal, the role of personality in the history of humanity, the meaning of the life of each person, with justice, revenge, betrayal, love, friendship...

Hamlet’s different perspectives of death Death is perceived as different things according to different people. In William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet,” the title character, Hamlet openly expresses his opinion of death through the various acts he commits and the things he says...

Shakespeare’s early 17th century revenge tragedy “Hamlet” is shaped by our understanding that knowledge of its contextual milieu develops an appreciation for the play’s timeless resonance. We also recognize the play’s textual integrity allows Shakespeare to explore...

Both Hamlet and Frankenstein deal with the concept of revenge. In a well-organized essay discuss the importance of revenge as a central theme in either Frankenstein OR Hamlet . Avoid mere plot summary. You must provide strong textual references to support your ideas. The revenge theme came in both...

“THE DEAD AMONGST THE LIVING” IN HAMLET AND FRANKENSTEIN William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet and Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein are challenging literary works that both have the same theme about the dead amongst the living. Both protagonists Hamlet and Victor Frankenstein...

2 140 words

Female voices in classic literature are rarely allowed to be heard as they should, especially in a society like Shakespeare’s, where women are expected to make children and hot meals and not much more than that. While Shakespeare does take drastic steps forward in allowing such prominent...

Harold Bloom says the genius of Shakespeare is that “Characters develop rather than unfold, and they develop because they reconceive themselves” (The Invention of the Human XVII). Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, shows the development of Hamlet within the land of Denmark. Hamlet...

1 420 words

English 30-1 Hamlet Personal Response March 21 2013 Final Draft Interior Monologue My uncle is dead. Along with everyone else I love and the people they care about. My mother Gertrude, Ophelia, Laertes, and their father Polonius. Dead and gone to heaven forever. I finally killed Claudius! He has...

Hamlet: Response To Literature Taking place in Elsinore, Denmark Hamlet by Williams Shakespeare is a remarkable play where love and madness co-exist in an all-out war between family and friends. For many years, literature scholars have viewed Hamlet’s themes in many ways and forms. I intend...


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Essays About Hamlet: Top 5 Examples and 10 Prompts

To write or not to write? To discover interesting topic ideas for your next essay, see below our round-up of helpful essays about Hamlet and writing topic prompts. 

The tragedy of Hamlet , Prince of Denmark, is arguably the most famous work of William Shakespeare – or perhaps in the world of literature. A play revolving around love, betrayal, madness, and revenge, Hamlet is a masterpiece that opens with the murder of the King of Denmark. The ghost of the king will go on to appear before his son Hamlet throughout the play, seeking his help for vengeance by killing the new king, Hamlet’s uncle.

Written from 1600 to 1601 with five acts and published in a quarto edition, Hamlet has since been a beloved on the theatrical stages and modern film adaptations, becoming Shakespeare’s longest play and one of the most quoted in many art forms with its “To be or not to be” soliloquy. 

Read on to see our essays and prompts about Hamlet.

Top 5 Essay Examples

1. ”review: in a powerful ‘hamlet,’ a fragile prince faces his foes” by maya phillips, 2. “the concept of madness in hamlet by shakespeare” by cansu yağsız, 3. “analyzing the theme of religion in william shakespeare’s ‘hamlet’” by journey holm, 4. “ophelia, gender and madness” by ellaine showalter, 5. “the hamlet effect” by holly crocker, 1. the beginnings of hamlet, 2. was hamlet mad or not, 3. physicians’ diagnosis of hamlet, 4. feminism in the eyes of ophelia, 5. religion in hamlet, 6. oedipal complex in hamlet, 7. imageries in hamlet, 8. shakespeare’s language in hamlet, 9. an analysis of “to be or not to be” , 10. hamlet as a philosophical work.

“Hamlet” is one of the Shakespeare plays that most suffers from diminishing returns — adaptations that try too hard to innovate, to render a classic modern and hip.”

With the many theatrical adaptations of Hamlet, it may be a tall order for production companies to add new flairs to the play while being faithful to Shakespeare’s masterpiece. But Robert Icke, a theater director, stuns an audience with his production’s creative and technical genius, while Alex Lawther, his actor, offers a refreshing, charismatic portrayal of Hamlet.

“The cause of these three characters’ madness are trauma and unrequited love. They also have a spot in common: a devastating loss of someone significant in their lives… In my view, Shakespeare wrote about these characters’ madness almost like a professional about psychology, making the causes and consequences of their madness reasonable.”

Madness is the most apparent theme in Hamlet, affecting the main character, Hamlet, his love interest, Ophelia, and her brother, Laertes. The novel is most reflective of Shakespeare’s attraction to the concept of madness, as he was said to have personally studied its causes, including unrequited love, trauma from losses, and burnout.

“…I will argue that Hamlet’s hesitance to avenge his father’s death comes from something deeper than a meditation on another man’s life, a sort of faith. I will use three scenes in Shakespeare’s Hamlet to establish that the reason for Hamlet’s hesitance is religion and the fear of his own eternal damnation in hellfire.”

The essay builds on a pool of evidence to prove the religiousness of Hamlet. But, mainly, the author underscores that it is Hamlet’s religious reflections, not his alleged mental incapacity, that stifle him from performing his duty to his father and killing his murderer.  

“Shakespeare gives us very little information from which to imagine a past for Ophelia… Yet Ophelia is the most represented of Shakespeare’s heroines in painting, literature and popular culture.”

The essay walks readers through the depictions of Ophelia in various stages and periods, particularly her sexuality. But the fascination for this heroine goes beyond the stage. Ophelia’s madness in the play has paved the way for constructive concepts on insanity among young women. She has also inspired many artists of the Pre-Rapahelite period and feminists to reimagine Hamlet through the lens of feminism. 

“… [A]s the shame-and-troll cycle of Internet culture spins out of control, lives are ruined. Some of these lives are lesser, we might think, because they are racist, sexist, or just unbelievably stupid. Shakespeare’s Hamlet cautions us against espousing this attitude: it is not that we shouldn’t call out inane or wrong ideas… He errs, however, when he acts as if Polonius’s very life doesn’t matter.”

An English professor rethinks our present moral compass through the so-called “Hamlet Effect,” which pertains to how one loses moral standards when doing something righteous. Indeed, Hamlet’s desire for retribution for his father is justifiable. However, given his focus on his bigger, more heroic goal of revenge, he treats the lives of other characters as having no significance.

10 Writing Prompts For Essays About Hamlet

Essays About Hamlet written by Shakespeare

It is said that Shakespeare’s primary inspiration for Hamlet lies in the pages of François de Belleforest’s Histories Tragique, published in 1570 when Shakespeare was six years old. For your historical essay, determine the similarities between Belleforest’s book and Hamlet. Research other stories that have helped Shakespeare create this masterpiece.

Hamlet is the most fascinating of Shakespeare’s heroes for the complexity of his character, desire, and existential struggle. But is Hamlet sane or insane? That question has been at the center of debates in the literary world. To answer this, pore over Hamlet’s seven soliloquies and find lines that most reveal Hamlet’s conflicting thoughts and feelings. 

Physicians have long mused over Hamlet’s characters like real people. They have even turned the cast into subjects of their psychiatric work but have come up with different diagnoses. For this prompt, dig deep into the ever-growing pool of psychoanalysis commentaries on Hamlet. Then, find out how these works affect future adaptations in theaters. 

Throughout the play, Ophelia is depicted as submissive, bending to the whims of male characters in the play. In your essay, explain how Ophelia’s character reflects the perception and autonomy of women in the Elizabethan era when the play was created. You can go further by analyzing whether Shakespeare was a misogynist trapping his heroine into such a helpless character or a feminist exposing these realities. 

Hamlet was written at a time London was actively practicing Protestantism, so it would be interesting to explore the religious theme in Hamlet to know how Shakespeare perceives the dominant religion in England in his time and Catholicism before the Reformation. First, identify the religions of the characters. Then, describe how their religious beliefs affected their decisions in the scenes. 

Father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud proposes that Hamlet is hesitant to kill Claudius due to his Oedipus Complex, which grows with him in his adult years. An Oedipus Complex pertains to a male infant’s repressed desire to take possession of his mother from his father, who is viewed as a rival. First, write your analysis on whether you agree with Freud’s view. Then, gather evidence from passages of the play to agree or argue otherwise. 

Hamlet in an “inky cloak” to signify his grief, a Denmark under Claudius linked to corruption and disease — these are just some imageries used in Hamlet. Find other imageries and explain how they achieved their dramatic effect on highlighting the moods of characters and scenes. 

During Shakespeare’s time, playwrights are expected to follow the so-called Doctrine of Decorum which recognizes the hierarchy in society. So the gravediggers in Hamlet spoke in prose, as Hamlet does in his mad soliloquies. However, Shakespeare breaks this rule in Hamlet. Find dialogues where Shakespeare allowed Hamlet’s characters to be more distinct and flexible in language. 

In the “To be or not to be” soliloquy, Hamlet contemplates suicide. Why do you think these lines continue to be relevant to this day even after centuries since Shakespeare? Answer this in your essay by elaborating on how Hamlet, through these lines, shares the suffering of the “whips and scorns of time” and our innate nature to endure. 

In your essay, evaluate the famous philosophies that resound in Hamlet. For example, with the theme of suicide, Hamlet may echo the teachings of Seneca and the movement of Stoicism , who view suicide as freedom from life’s chains. One may also find traces of Albert Camus’s lessons from the Myth of Sisyphus, which tells of a human’s ability to endure. 

Interested in learning more? Check out our essay writing tips . If you’re still stuck, check out our general resource of essay writing topics .

hamlet exemplar essays

Yna Lim is a communications specialist currently focused on policy advocacy. In her eight years of writing, she has been exposed to a variety of topics, including cryptocurrency, web hosting, agriculture, marketing, intellectual property, data privacy and international trade. A former journalist in one of the top business papers in the Philippines, Yna is currently pursuing her master's degree in economics and business.

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Argumentative Essays on Hamlet


Ophelia Essay

Madness in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Hamlet is set in the late Renaissance of Europe, and also in a period of drastic and turbulent changes in British society. Humanism has been deeply rooted in people’s hearts, while there are many problems in the reality of British society, and the contradiction between ideal and reality is increasingly intensified. Which It advocates caring for people, respecting people and taking people as the center of the world outlook, and advocates equality of personality and mutual respect. It is in […]

Madness and Religion in Hamlet

Shakespeare’s Hamlet contains many literary elements and motifs, which explains the many analytical possibilities. From the beginning of the play, the readers follow Hamlet through his personal battle to find where his loyalty lies, with God or with his deceased father. The ghost of the king asks that Hamlet kill Claudius, and discusses the murder in the context of his faith. “Let not the royal bed of Denmark be a couch for luxury and damned incest.” (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene […]

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The Question of Hamlet’s Madness

The question of Hamlet’s madness has been analyzed regarding the profundity of his “madness” and whether or not it goes to the extent of his beliefs. WIth this in mind, Hamlet is a play on how the Prince of Denmark,Hamlet,plots a scheme to essentially kill his father’s brother, however, his plans take a turn to self destruction of himself and others throughout the play. Furthermore, an essential part of his plan was to implement the concept of madness, but the […]

Why does Hamlet Delay his Revenge

As I memorize back to my childhood age, I always had arguments and fights with my older sister. She would always do some things to get me in trouble with our parents. These acts always made me feel like getting back to her and take a revenge for what she did. Basically, revenge to people is the desire to get back at the person who did something against you or caused the action to be acted upon you (DiBattista 70). […]

The Revenge in Hamlet Play

“As a groundbreaking author with numerous plays that are entirely diverse from one another, Shakespeare investigated the range of the human spirit and how it reacted whenever difficulties arose. “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder,”” this saying originates within William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. (Punchner & Shakespeare 2013) The tale of Hamlet is one of William Shakespeare’s most notable works of literature. The creation was published in the early sixteenth century, and one of the most massive plays that William Shakespeare’ […]

Shakespeare’s Moral Conflict of Revenge

While staying true to moral principles is admirable, it can end in tragedy. In analyzing two pieces of classical literature, the morally certain protagonists both share the distinction of tragic heroes. Their stories are different, but they are connected in that they are both defenders of what is right. Sophocles’s Antigone and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet illustrate the theme of listening to the moral conscience. The morality theme is developed by analyzing Antigone as her values mandate following human sentiment over […]

Ophelia (from Hamlet) Character Analysis

In all his plays, Shakespeare never gave so much weight on female roles and characters, as he always took a specific approach towards gender dynamics. However, in Hamlet, the poet gave to Ophelia a strong, yet graceful power. Captured by this mysterious and bold creature, directors like Zeffirelli (1990), Branagh (1996), and Almereyda (2000) depicted her in three completely different ways and eras: Middle Ages, Renaissance, and the Present. Generally, in paintings Ophelia is represented as a romantic, tragic, powerless […]

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet Character Analysis

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a tragic play focused around the protagonist’s quest to seek revenge against his father’s murderer. After it is disclosed that Hamlet’s uncle killed his father, Hamlet is blown to the core and driven to the line between sanity and mania. Throughout the play, Hamlet portrays an elevated sense of instability, but his mania is, perhaps, too resolute and purposeful for the reader to deduce that he actually lost his sanity. Towards certain characters, Hamlet exhibits erratic […]

Hamlet Mental State Analysis

Hamlet mental state can be perceived as mental madness; this is seen as the most accurate assessment. Hamlet certainly displays a high degree of instability throughout much of the play, but his madness is pointed out to conclude that he actually loses his mind. His language is wild, but beneath his words often lie acute observations that show the sane mind working bitterly. Most likely, Hamlet’s decision to feign madness confuses his enemies and hide his intentions. Soliloquy (I,ii)- King […]

The Mind of the Mad: Analysis of Hamlet

The Mind of The Mad What is it to be mad? Is it related to something of biological background? Or is it to do with the complex breakdown of one’s emotions? Or is it both? These questions are important to keep in mind when understanding whether Hamlet is truly mad or feigning madness as part of his ‘plan’ in which Shakespeare builds up throughout the play. This relates to the second aspect which must also be looked at when comprehending […]

Shakespeare Hamlet Soliloquies Analysis

“The tragedy of Hamlet, prince of Denmark”, typically condensed to Hamlet, was authored by playwright William Shakespeare throughout 1599-1602. It’s conceivably one amongst his most outstanding tragedies. The utmost artistic progress William Shakespeare created in Hamlet was in creating the audience to know the protagonist’s inner life. All over the play, Hamlet’s soliloquy dramatizes objective of a person attempting to develop sense out of composite ideas and feelings. “Hamlet’s first soliloquy” comes concerning in Act one, Scene ii of the […]

Hamlet: Tragic Hero

William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet is one of his greatest plays and the play was written in 1599. There are many characters within this story but only one of them stands out the most which is Hamlet himself. Hamlet is the prince of Denmark and he is the son of King Hamlet and Queen Gertrude. After finding out that his father King Hamlet was murdered, Hamlet goes on a dramatic journey to avenge his father’s death. He is a brave and […]

Theme of Betrayal in Hamlet

The Theme of Revenge in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet Hamlet is one of William Shakespeare’s most famous literary works. The play is made up of different intertwined themes that are essential to its development. However, the dominant theme that is in play is the quest for revenge. Revenge can be described as the theme that is cleverly built upon from the beginning of the play and throughout its extent. This is the driving force behind some of the main characters of […]

The Theme of Fate in William Shakespeare’s Play Hamlet

Hamlet has to work out his own salvation in fear and trembling; he has to make a moral decision, in a complex situation where he cannot rely on cut-and-dried moral principles, or on the conventional code of the society in which he lives; and on his choice depend the fate of the people he loves and the fate of the kingdom to which he is the rightful heir. The emphasis on ambiguity in the play, and the absence of overt […]

Theme of Death in Hamlet

Shakespeare’s Hamlet– solemn tones of questioning existence and a romance within a tragedy– a solemn man’s story, mixed with a fiery ambition for revenge, with a trail of blood leading to it. In Scene III, pages 56-88, Hamlet performs his famous soliloquy, “To be or not to be, that is the question..,” Hamlet’s soliloquy is full of deep thoughts of existential crisis, and the indecisiveness of Hamlet with his life decisions. The tone of Hamlet’s first soliloquy starts as sorrowful […]

What is Hamlet’s Tragic Flaw?

Hamlet by Shakespeare is a play that can be studied from various perspectives. It deals with different themes and one of the most discussed one is Providentialism. Hamlet´s disobedience and opposition to the new Kings Claudius ideas and principles, displays contradictions during the play that are worthy analyzing and discussing in debt. Finally, the relationship and disputes between Claudius and Hamlet will make Hamlet think about the topics that include modern identity, freedom and questioning of Providentialism and if these […]

Hamlet and Lion King Comparison

The Lion King was written as a book in 1994, it was made a motion picture in 1994 also. It is also tilted as a musical film. The Lion King was directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, produced by Don Hahn. Its original songs were composed by Elton John. The film was obviously the work of Disney. The Lion King is the tale of a bond of a son and a father. With a twist of jealousy. A son […]

Insanity in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Revenge can cause one to be blinded through rage, rather than through understanding. It is from the law of an eye for an eye, but the law is not always an intelligent concept to go along with. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, he uses revenge as the major theme for the growth of Hamlet’s madness throughout the village to avenge his father’s death. It is ironical how retaliation was pursued by Hamlet but in turn he perished because of its foolish […]

Hamlet and his Traits of Character

Hamlet is a story known as a Revenge Tragedy at the end of the sixteenth century. People with certain levels of power in this time period were likely to get away with criminal activity. Law officials of this time were unable or unwilling to catch these people to make them pay for their crimes. Revenge was a common way of settling disputes and old scores. Belleforest retold a story from a 12th-century Latin work, the Historiae Danicae, by Saxo Grammaticus, […]

Existentialism in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

In tragic novel Hamlet, Hamlet ,the protagonist, is a very distinct character with traits that make him one of the most intriguing and fascinating characters to ever be written. After his father’s questionable death, Hamlet has become tentative, pessimistic, and dissatisfied. Furthermore, Hamlet holds now revulsion for his stepfather’s scheming and his mother’s lust and frailty-after their mistimed marriage. Hamlet’s enigmatic and paradoxical nature draws the readers to the character. He is at once an ultimate iconoclast, in a self-loathing […]

Mental Illness in Hamlet

 “The most dangerous thing when, you have a mental illness, is convincing yourself that you don’t have it” – Noah Hawley. This is exactly what Hamlet in the play by William Shakespeare did. This plays plot is based off of the death of King Hamlet, and his son Hamlet must come home to Denmark for his father’s funeral. Upon arriving home Hamlet finds that his uncle Claudius (King Hamlet’s brother) has married his mother and is now the king. The […]

Poor Fate of Ophelia

It hurts when someone you love, doesn’t love you back. During the entire play, Ophelia has been in love with Hamlet this entire time. However unfortunately, Hamlet never had a thing for her this whole time. Due to Hamlet, who did told her that she should go to a nunnery because that is the best thing for her rather than getting married, she was honestly hurt by such harshly said words. Ophelia reminds me of when in the past two […]

A Tragedy of Hamlet

Hamlet was published in 1603 by William Shakespeare, a renowned English playwright and actor. This play brings up very sophisticated topics that were very often hidden and shied away from in Shakespeare’s time period. The audience follows the story of a young prince who seemingly falls apart after the death of his father and brings the kingdom down with him. Hamlet is drowning in grief after his father’s death and is driven by a rage at his uncle for the […]

Ghost that Appears to Hamlet

What is the nature of the Ghost that Appears to Hamlet? Prince Hamlet went back home to Denmark with the aim of attending his late father’s funeral. The ghost of his father appears to him and reveals to Hamlet that he was murdered when somebody poured poison inside his ear while he was asleep. He charged Hamlet to avenge his death for his soul to rest in peace. Hamlet is also discontented with the hasty marriage that had taken place […]

An Interesting Delayed Resolution in Hamlet

The great challenge of artists is to make a product the public want while still executing the artistic vision. If a work is focused entirely on artistic intent with no regard for entertainment value, it will likely alienate audiences. This is exemplified by much of the modern school of visual art, which is often ridiculed in the popular sphere for being meaningless and useless. While the artistic vision is executed uncompromisingly, the art is appreciated only by a very small […]

Compare and Contrast Hamlet and Laertes

Laertes is a person in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. He is a child to Polonius. The two characters, Hamlet and Laertes, foster differentiating characters. There are various examinations and differences huge inside various issues, as tended to by various authors.Bennett lays on the reality of portrayal of Polonius an exhortation to Laertes. Waters Bennett expresses that Polonius was not deserving of regard in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. As to different characters, I believe that Hamlet’s and Laertes’ disparities are very obvious as […]

Women in Hamlet

Sasha Alsberg who is a writer said: Honestly, I hate when in books, the guys change the girl’s life. Like, no. The girl needs to change her own life. this means that sexism occurs in literary works.Sexism has always been a hot topic in society and literature. Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender.Hamletis a tragedy of Shakespeare that tells the story of King Claudius murdering Hamlet’s father, usurping the throne and marrying the king’s […]

Hamlet: a Hero or a Villian?

William Shakespeare has written many plays, which include love, death, revenge, murder, and grief. Most of his plays have included numerous heroes and villains. One of his most famous plays that he wrote in 1599 was Hamlet, a play in which the son must take revenge for the murder of his father for his sake. During most of the play, Hamlet has a set goal on achieving the revenge for his father’s death, which makes the audience perceives Hamlet as […]

Hamlet and Ophelia’s Promising Relationship

Throughout the Shakespearean tragedy, Hamlet, the main character’s words and actions seem to portray his two-sidedness when it comes to his relationship with Ophelia. At first, he loves her, then doesn’t want anything to do with her, but after she dies, he claims to have been infatuated with her all along. His sudden changes in personality leave the readers wondering whether his love for Ophelia is true, or if she is simply an object used to fulfill his physical wishes. […]

Did Hamlet Love Ophelia?

Hamlet does not have good relationships with the women in his life, as his life is presented in the famous play. It is possible that one of the reasons why Hamlet is having his mental breakdown in isolation is because of these poor relationships, and this may be due to the frailty of these women, particularly psychologically, that mirrors Hamlet’s own challenges. This helps to explain why he cried out in frustration: “Frailty, thy name is a woman’.(1.2.148). Hamlet is […]

Essay Introduction

Research paper on hamlet, thesis statement for hamlet.

Rather than being confined solely to novels, literature exists in many forms of text which add value to the reader’s lives and thinking processes. Therefore, a play could be part of literature as well, a well-known example being Hamlet. This becomes clear with the fact that many people nowadays meticulously study Hamlet despite it having been written centuries ago. How is it possible that Shakespeare’s Hamlet is still known and appreciated throughout the world? One could say that time, place, language, and target audience affect the text in some way and that, thus, Shakespeare must have chosen universal factors which make Hamlet continue to stand out. The question remains, however, if Hamlet would be the same nowadays if these features would have been different.

Hamlet was written by Shakespeare around 1600 in London. The script supports this as it can be seen that the play was written in a different syntax and grammar structure which today is known as contemporary English. For example, “We will ourselves provide” translates to “We will provide ourselves.” Religion is a defining factor as well, as it seems to carry a large role in the play. The appearance of the ghost of the old king Hamlet suggests people at that time still believed in spiritualism. Additionally, when Claudius tries to pray at an altar to be forgiven for killing the old Hamlet, Hamlet comes with a sword aiming to kill Claudius and send him to hell, but he refrains as he thinks Claudius would go straight to heaven if killed during prayer. These cumulative examples, combined with the fact that Shakespeare lived in London, prove that Hamlet was written around 1600.

Argumentative Essay Examples of Hamlet

The language used in Hamlet is, as shown in the above paragraph, contemporary English and is rich in metaphors, imagery, and other literary devices, especially Hamlet’s soliloquies, which almost entirely consist of metaphors. An example is the first line of the first soliloquy: “O that this too, too sullied flesh would melt,” meaning that Hamlet wishes for his skin to “melt” or, in other words, he wishes to commit suicide.

To say that Shakespeare wrote Hamlet for a reason around 1600 in London is difficult to support as Shakespeare could have written it at any point in his career, but it does add to the fact that Hamlet is one of the first plays of not only Shakespeare but around that time which possessed renaissance characteristics, characters with psychological complexity, and absolute rulers with human emotions who also made mistakes, and was based upon the classical tragedy drama from the Greeks and Romans which was before forbidden by the Catholic church.

Titles: Language, Metaphors, and Literary Devices in Hamlet

So, because Hamlet was written in the Renaissance period, the play could contain different themes and motives. Together with the almost poetic language which portrays different thinking processes and defined social groups, the syntax of the royal family contained far more literary devices than that of commoners, and above all was Hamlet, whose soliloquies consisted almost entirely of literary devices.

The purpose of the play was set to let people think about the moral discussion of either taking revenge or committing suicide and leaving a horrible world, and the target audience was established. Many were learning to think for themselves, but Shakespeare could, of course, only reach those who came to see his play. The combination of deep characterization for the first time in a play, the use of themes and motives that had not been used for a long time, and the poetic language made Hamlet a masterpiece and, therefore, unforgettable.

The Renaissance Influence on Hamlet

Hamlet would have been a completely different play had it been written in another time period, as the whole essence of the play is based upon the 1600s. The perspective of the Renaissance and moral debate may not have been as important as it is now. It would still be a tragedy, though the effectiveness of the play, which is created by the deep characterization of the Renaissance, would be gone. If it was written in a different location, the language could have been different and cultural differences could play a role. These could cause the religion in the play to differ, as well as the absolute ruler; instead of a monarch, it would be an emperor. Though monarchs and emperors are similar, a different religion could surely have changed the play. If the belief in ghosts were to diminish, the play would not have been about revenge, as Hamlet would not have known that his father was killed by his uncle.

Impact of Time, Place, Language, and Target Audience

The entire moral debate would vanish, leaving nothing left of the actual purpose. If the language of the play was different, which could be caused by either a different time or place, translation might be needed, which could change the meaning of the play as translations can often alter and muddle the significance behind words, especially literary devices, proverbs, and cultural sayings. A different target audience would have changed the play as different social groups of varying ages, gender, perspective, and acting would all enjoy different aspects of it. Overall, if any of these features would have been different, the impact would have changed substantially.

Holistically, Shakespeare was smart to use the combination of time, place, language, and target audience to obtain a play that was new for its time and set the tone for his upcoming work. If any of these features had varied, the play would have been different as the purpose may have changed and, as a result, may not be as strong as it is now. With a change in religion, the importance of the beginning of the play would have been lost, and with it, the play as ghost that talks to Hamlet in the play would not exist in making the morale debate of taking revenge or committing suicide.

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Writing help, paraphrasing tool, shakespeare’s hamlet character analysis.

This essay will provide a detailed analysis of the character of Hamlet in William Shakespeare’s play. It will explore Hamlet’s complex personality, his existential reflections, and his struggle with action and inaction. The piece will discuss how Hamlet’s character embodies themes of tragedy, revenge, and madness, and how these contribute to the play’s overall impact and enduring relevance. PapersOwl offers a variety of free essay examples on the topic of Analysis.

How it works

Hamlet is Shakespeare’s most extended and probably the most famous English language play ever written. In the script, the character Hamlet is the protagonist. Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, is the queen of Denmark. His uncle, Claudius recently killed his father, King Hamlet and married Gertrude. Hamlet’s actions depict him to have a lot of contradictions, reckless but cautious. Shakespeare captures the human characteristics perfectly with the character of Hamlet with an inconsistency of emotions such that no one knows what he will do next. The cast of Hamlet evolves all through from the beginning due to external factors around him with the main ones being the actions of his mother, his uncle murdering his father and his behavior as well as the ghost asking him to revenge his father’s death.

Although Hamlet’s mother had already forgotten King Hamlet and moved on, Hamlet would not forget his father. Shakespeare states “Thou know’st ’tis common; all that lives must die, Passing through nature to eternity” (1). In this case, Hamlet’s sorrow is propelled by his loss of feelings for the people he is close with, and more importantly, by the evil actions of Gertrude. She married his uncle Claudius a month after the death of her husband, Hamlet’s father. Shakespeare writers “Treachery! Seek it out” (1). In this case, the treacherous act of Gertrude, whom the prince had a great love for, scatters every inch of Hamlet’s life and trust, and he ends up torturing his mind with memories of how King Hamlet loved and cherished Gertrude.

Hamlet has a lot of respect for his father that he compares to Hyperion, who was believed to be a Titan told in classical myths. However, he compares Claudius to the satyr who was Hyperion’s antagonist. He was given most of the worst descriptions one could imagine. He was called a pig and half-human for his high and dirty nature, and this offers Hamlet a godlike view about his father. Thus, Hamlet develops disgust for Claudius and his behaviors. The prince finds the lewd behavior of any kind is unacceptable but specifically dislike sex dancing and drinking (Amarang9 1). While waiting for the ghost at the castle wall, Hamlet hears the king talking below telling Horatio how the world is feeling contempt for his drunk countrymen.

Ophelia gets mixed in Hamlet’s plot to expose Claudius in the most dramatic way possible. He pretends to be mad. His guiding motivation is the conscious trait of an over-thinking philosopher. His pretense extends the drama as if Hamlet is writing the play himself. In the process, Hamlet hurts Ophelia’s feelings. However, Hamlet’s attitudes towards women have been tainted by Gertrude and Claudius’ actions. Hamlet’s love for Ophelia can be seen through the gifts and letters he used to give to her before his father’s death. While trying to become his father’s mouthpiece about how he could not chastise his wife, his love for Ophelia diminishes (Mabillard 1). He begins to treat her with cruelty and thus destroys her.

Hamlet is unable to control his feelings and thoughts. At one instance he hates Ophelia, but in the next, he wants to engage into sexual intimacy with her. Although it may seem as if Hamlet is crazy; he is not lost in his madness façade. He is only using Ophelia to further the pretense and make it look as if he is insane. In some instances, he doesn’t lash out at Ophelia but uses some hurtful words and shows her disrespectful behavior. Hamlet should be blamed for mistreating Ophelia. Although lucid and brilliant, Hamlet is driven by his rage for Gertrude’s betrayal into destroying the innocent Ophelia. He uses Ophelia as a tool to expose his hostile behavior which he hides from Claudius. Hamlets affection for Ophelia is only seen when he realizes she has died and is freed from woman trappings.

Hamlet has a burning desire to embrace those he despises beneath his cruelty and cynic nature. He loved his mother and wanted to feel the love again. He confronts Gertrude and relents that the spirit needs to intercede for her, but it is clear he longs to show her some affection and comfort each other. However, his love and friendship cannot outdo his depressions and the responsibility of revenge. There is a possibility that Hamlet has an oedipal complex in which he identifies with Claudius’ crime (Amarang9 1). It is the unconscious desire of sons wanting to kill their fathers and become their mothers’ objects of affection. However, His faith in humanity is already destroyed, and at some time he contemplates suicide.

?The prince’s perpetual introspection helps him overcome his anxiety when he comes back from exile. He is different that is a calm nature, he is rational in reasoning, and he is not afraid of death (Shakespeare 1). He realizes that destiny controls all lives and is ready to face the truth of murdering while avenging his father. He uses fate as a scapegoat to distance himself from the killing of King Claudius. With this climax of philosophy, Hamlet has prepared himself for death. Even after his death, his prince qualities remain with imprints in the minds of the audience. He is a soldier and brave.

In summary, Hamlet may be described as an intelligent, melancholy, brooding and a philosopher who manipulates the people around him by manipulating his behavior. He understands his psychological state after his actions affect the people, he loves such as Ophelia dying. He is a brilliant character with most of his practices being acts rather than his true nature.

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146 Hamlet Essay Topics & Thesis Ideas

We know how long students search for interesting Hamlet essay topics. In this post, you will find a list of the most debating Hamlet essay titles and thesis ideas. We’ve also developed a guide on how to write a Hamlet paper and included some helpful Hamlet essay examples.

👍 Hamlet Essay Writing – Tips & Ideas

🏆 best hamlet essay examples, 📜 hamlet research paper topics & thesis ideas, 📌 catchy hamlet essay titles, 🌟 best hamlet thesis ideas, 🔍 easy hamlet essay topics, ❓ hamlet essay questions.

Here, at IvyPanda, we know how daunting can be the task of writing a Hamlet Essay. In this post, you will find out how to write a paper that would get top marks.

Tip #1. Read critically before starting hamlet essay outline

Critical reading will help you to prepare for writing your paper. There are a lot of techniques that can increase your reading speed. You may try some of them, described below:


Grab a few highlighters and use them to underline things that might suit for various topics. For example, use green when you see something pertaining to a tragic hero character analysis; pink for a particular symbol, etc. Don’t forget to make a key, so you know what each color means.

This method helps you to organize your evidence and allows you to see if you have enough support to write your essay.


Take notes and record your ideas and critical aspects while reading the plot. This approach will help you to avoid multiple re-readings. However, be sure to remark what part of the essay your notes pertain to.

Making annotations in the margins of the book, you will ensure that you understand what is happening in a text after you’ve read it. Note the author’s key points, central areas of focus, and your thoughts.

Annotating will help you to summarize, highlight crucial pieces of information, and prepare yourself for writing Hamlet essay prompts that your professor may give you

You can use the methods mentioned above or try any other, or even come up with your own technique. This simple exercise will help you to recall which points to write about in your paper.

Tip #2. Write a detailed outline

Now, when you’ve done the prewriting work, it’s time to focus on what you’re going to write in and create your Hamlet essay outline.

Here’s the trick: the more detailed your outline will be, the less time you will spend on the writing process. If you put a lot of detail in the outline, all you will have to do is connect arguments and make it readable.

If you have to turn in a formal outline, as part of your essay, check that each level has at least two parts.

Tip #3. Write your Hamlet essay thesis statement

A thesis statement is among the crucial parts of your entire essay. It tells your readers what you will write in the rest of the paper. It should correspond with the essay title and act as a short preview of the assignment.

You will bring up may points in the paper, although the thesis should tie all of them together.

Write your Hamlet essay thesis statement during outlining and refine it when you start writing. It is possible to revise it when the essay is already finished, and you see ways to improve the thesis.

Tip #4. Start writing your Hamlet essay

When you begin to write an essay, you can check available samples and titles to get inspiration. However, make it personal. Ask yourself questions.

Here are some question examples: What interests me about the play? Is it Hamlet’s monologues? Is it the figure of the Ghost of Hamlet’s father? Or is it something even more obscure?

If you are still struggling to find your Hamlet essay topics or ideas to add to the paper, check these free samples of high-quality papers!

  • Hamlet, Laertes, Fortinbras: Revenge for the Deaths of Their Fathers He thinks about the fact that revenge is not a good action to make his soul get to heavens. His is a prince of Norway, but likewise Hamlet did not receive the crown, he was […]
  • Characterization of Hamlet When Hamlet learns in a dream that he is supposed to revenge the death of his father, he promises to do so “with wings as swift as meditation or the thoughts of love, may sweep […]
  • Hamlet’s Relationship with His Mother (Gertrude) – Attitude Towards Her The conversation between Hamlet and his mother brings back Gertrude to her senses where she feels guilty and ashamed of her actions.
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the “Hamlet” Hamlet is a son to the former King and a nephew to the current King Claudius These two characters seem indispensable throughout and serve as informants of Claudius. In the play, they fit in as […]
  • Hamlet Analysis Essay: Shakespeare’s Play Analysis Example The writer used the name of the play as the name of the main actor while other characters in the play helped in development of the predominant theme in the main character.
  • A Critical Analysis of Hamlet’s Constant Procrastination in Shakespeare’s Hamlet Claudius is successful in his ambition and Hamlet is left with the decision on whether or not to kill his uncle so as to avenge his father’s death.
  • Hamlet vs. Oedipus Compare and Contrast Essay In his speech to his brother-in-law Creon, the proud king voices the desire to find the murderer to secure not only the wellbeing of his state but his safety as a ruler as well.
  • Blindness in Oedipus Rex & Hamlet Therefore, in this play, the sighted like Oedipus and Jocasta are ‘blind’ to the truth whilst the blind like Teiresias can see the truth.
  • Father-Son Relationships in Hamlet – Hamlet’s Opinion In the case of Hamlet, he surrenders his own life and future to the will of his father, albeit following significant hesitation, not to mention the passage of an entire play.
  • Hamlet & Laertes: Fathers’ Death Reactions King Hamlet’s ghost then informs prince Hamlet of the person who killed him; consequently, Hamlet accepts the ghost’s demands, swears his accomplices to secrecy and reveals to them his intention of killing the king to […]
  • Recurring Theme of Revenge in Hamlet On top of this, Laertes wants to revenge the insanity and subsequent death of his sister, which he blames on Hamlet.
  • The Function of the Soliloquies in Hamlet This happens when it influences the plot, the characterization in the play, and the play’s mood, on top of expressing themes that could be termed to be the main themes.
  • A Play “Hamlet” by William Shakespear Hamlet decides to prove whether Claudius really killed his father and in act three, he uses the play “The Murder of Gonzago” to get the truth.
  • How a Film Interprets Hamlet Laurence Olivier’s need to focus on less traditional approaches, his need to shorten the production, and the need to perform a psychological analysis of the characters determine his interpretation of the play ‘Hamlet’.
  • Shakespeare versus Olivier: A Depiction of ‘Hamlet’ The presentation of the Ghost in the film builds the main theme of revenge and tragedy. Olivier shows that the Oedipus complex is a crucial aspect in understanding the play especially the character of Hamlet […]
  • Oedipus the King and Hamlet However, the fact is both Oedipus and Claudius managed to get the post of kingship after killing the former kings leaving the seats vacant. In conclusion, both Oedipus and King Claudius attained their crown after […]
  • The Hamlet’s Emotional Feelings in the Shakespearean Tragedy The grief that Hamlet feels at the death of his father is tempered by a Claudius’s statement to him that grief is ‘unmanly.’ He also associates women with deception beginning with his mother with whom […]
  • Hamlet’s Renaissance Culture Conflict The death of Hamlet as the play ends indicates that though he was the definite answer to all the questions before him as he faced death, he was not in any position to give any […]
  • The Play “Hamlet Prince of Denmark” by W.Shakespeare Hamlet, a Denmark Prince, is the main character in the play. In the climax of the play, Claudius appears to be responsible for the death of King Hamlet.
  • The Theme of Revenge in Shakespeare’s Hamlet The latter, after seeing his father’s ghost and learning the truth, feels that he is taken over by revenge and sets up a performance that copies Claudius’s, the murderer’s, plan and results in a tragic […]
  • Creative Process in William Shakespeare Works Creativity in his works, Merchant of Venice and Hamlet, is portrayed by the manner he makes choice of characters, the way themes are tied up with stylistic language to reflect hidden meanings reflective of the […]
  • Canonical Status of Hamlet by William Shakespeare However, the technique has been defended by some of the scholars who argue that Shakespeare’s skill is to develop and emphasize the purpose of duality and dislocation in the play.
  • “Hamlet” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” The link of “Hamlet” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” to the present days can be seen in the lost characters.
  • The Role of Queen Gertrude in Play “Hamlet” Whether or not Queen Gertrude, Prince Hamlet’s mother, was guilty of being part of the conspiracy that led to the murder of her husband, King Hamlet is debatable.
  • Key Themes in “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare Among the characters in this play include Claudius, hamlet, Gertrude, Polonius, Ophelia, Horatio, Laertes, Voltimand, Rosencrantz, Osric, ghost of Hamlet’s father, Barnardo to mention but a few Mystery of death is one theme that clearly […]
  • Shakespeare Authorship Question: Thorough Analysis of Style, Context, and Violence in the Plays Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night It should be stated that even though most of the scholars point to the fact that Shakespeare was not the author of the plays, I would like to contradict this opinion and prove that Shakespeare’s […]
  • Why Is Hamlet a Complex Character: Critical Analysis When Hamlet’s father requests him to avenge his death against King Claudius, he is unable to carry out his revenge. In addition, Shakespeare mission to delay Hamlet’s plan to avenge his father’s death highlights the […]
  • Relationships Among Individuals in Shakespeare’s Plays The events that take place in Athens are symbolic in the sense that they represent the sequence of events during the day whereas the events in the forest represent the dream like circumstances.
  • William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark Generally, the main idea of the play is considered to be the impact of people’s actions on their future.”The ghost of Hamlet’s father does urge him to action”.
  • Gertrude’s Character in “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare However, in the second part of the play, when Gertrude faces the truth of her first husband’s dead, she immediately stands a reformed character, sympathetic to Hamlet’s cause.
  • Shakespeare: Hamlet The scene that is the subject of this report refers to a scene in the play that takes place at the graveyard following the death of Ophelia.
  • Role of Women in Twelfth Night and Hamlet by Shakespeare Purpose of the research The purpose of this study is to compare specific women characters in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Hamlet and to explore their similarities in terms of their passivity, relationships with other characters […]
  • The Value of Source Study of Hamlet by Shakespeare In regards to the intended significance, Stopes, Belleforest, and Shakespeare report that Shakespeare designed the role of the ghost to appear to Hamlet relentlessly to enhance the melancholy motif of the play.
  • Hamlet and King Oedipus Literature Comparison This essay compares the characters and roles of both Hamlet and King Oedipus as the sons who have to deliver justice to their fathers’ killers.
  • Psychiatric Analysis of Hamlet Literature Analysis However, he tells the doctor that he is not actually aware of the reasons that are taking him to his death.
  • Literary Analysis of “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare They are the symbolic image of Hamlet’s father the ghost of the King, the flowers and Ophelia, the skull, and the grave of Yorick.
  • Hamlet in the Film and the Play: Comparing and Contrasting There is a certain discrepancy in the way Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Gibson’s hero unveil the tragic style of the play. This assumption is justified by the scenes from the movie because many of the dialogues […]
  • Portrayal of Hamlet in Shakespeare’s Play and Zaffirelli’s Film In fact, Mel Gisbon’s power as an act does not provide a sufficient understanding of his ability to penetrate to Shakespeare’s world and reach the ideas in the play.
  • Meditative and Passionate Responses in the Play “Hamlet” This is seen in his soliloquy “to be, or not to be: that is the question; /Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer?
  • Act II of Hamlet by William Shakespeare The King is worried about Hamlet’s madness and starts to suspect that he might have found out the real reasons for his father’s death.
  • Depression and Melancholia Expressed by Hamlet The paper will not attempt and sketch the way the signs or symptoms of depression/melancholia play a part in the way Shakespeare’s period or culture concerning depression/melancholia, but in its place portrays the way particular […]
  • Psychoanalytic Study of Hamlet by Ernest Jones (Critical Writing) I agree with the author regarding the dialogues, the flow of the play, and the sequence of the events in it.
  • “Hamlet and His Problems” by Thomas Stearns Eliot Hamlet assumes the role of both the father and the son and the need to detect his identity about his idea of the father becomes problematic in the presence of his mother.
  • Macbeth and Hamlet Characters Comparison The queens in Hamlet and Macbeth play a pivotal role in the life of the heroes of the play. She is portrayed as a mother who, in her awareness of Hamlet’s crisis, feels guilty and […]
  • Hamlet’s Choice of Fortinbras as His Successor Choice of Fortinbras is an act to usurp his place as the rightful king and avenge for the injustice done to Fortinbras, as well as him. Another reason could be an act to reconcile with […]
  • Ghosts and Revenge in Shakespeare’s Hamlet Despite the common beliefs concerning the existence of ghosts, it seems that the ghost’s presence is still supported by the testimonies of all characters in the story, including Horatio, Francisco, and the protagonist himself.
  • The Masks of William Shakespeare’s Play “Hamlet” The first thing that has to be determined is the truth behind the claim that Hamlet saw the ghost of his departed father.
  • Shakespeare’s Hamlet’s Behavior in Act III In the end, he comes to the conclusion that this obscurity is the reason people do not want to die and prefer to lead the lives full of suffering.
  • Lying, Acting, Hypocrisy in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” This paper will argue that, although the concepts of hypocrisy, lying, and acting are brought up directly only a few times in Hamlet, the manifestations thereof can be found throughout the poem, the Dutch prince […]
  • Ophelia and Hamlet’s Dialogue in Shakespeare’s Play In some ways, this scene represents the conflict between Hamlet and the society he lives in, as no one is capable of understanding his concerns.
  • Act 1 Scene 2 of the “Hamlet” Play by Shakespeare The use of honorifics, stichomythia, and imagery is discussed, as well as the aside, the motif of spying, and the overall mood of the scene will be discussed and evaluated. The overall mood of the […]
  • Ghost in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” Play In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, the titular character begins plotting his revenge after he encounters the ghost of his father, who informs him of the murder as well as the culprits.
  • Freud and Hamlet’s Relationship with His Mother When analyzing the relationship between Hamlet and his mother, one can note that even at a young age, the Oedipus complex manifests in the boy, which reflects a number of his conflicting experiences about his […]
  • Comparison of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and Perrault’s “Cinderella” The paper also includes the analysis of the narratives in accordance with the epic laws introduced by Axel Olrik. In Cinderella’s story, the presence of royalty is only limited to the prince.
  • Characters in “The Scarlet Letter” and “Hamlet” Film Hester returns to Boston just before her death, in order to be buried in the same grave as Dimmesdale, with ‘A’ inscribed on their tombstone. Much to her son’s anger and disgust, she marries Claudius […]
  • Roles of Poison in Shakespeari’s “Hamlet” It is obvious that Hamlet is the representative of the new world. I think that the answer to this riddle is that his ways of revenge are not good.
  • A Play Within a Play: Hamlet and Second Shepherd’s Play In contrast to Hamlet, the role of ‘a play within a play’ is to underline onstage and offstage characters and their qualities.
  • Hamlet’s Attitude Toward Women in Shakespear’s “Hamlet” The event that gives birth to his hatred is Gertrude’s marriage to her brother-in-law Claudius very soon after the untimely death of her husband, King Hamlet.
  • Aeschylus’ Oresteia and Shakespeare’s Hamlet One such device in Hamlet is Shakespeare’s placing of the Danish prince in the context of Fortinbras and Laertes as the characters that, like Hamlet, find themselves in the role of having to avenge their […]
  • Human Nature and Morality in “Hamlet” and “Dr. Faustus” These are the problems we are going to discuss in the current essay, and we are going to address for help with it such masterpieces of literature as the play “Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark” […]
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare: A Filmic Event In bringing Shakespeare’s classic story of Hamlet to the big screen and reset into a modern context, director Michael Almereyda is forced to reinterpret the role of Ophelia due to significant changes in modern women’s […]
  • “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare: To Be or Not to Be It begins with supernatural such as the presence of the ghost and Hamlet attempting to glance into Claudius’ soul, to the mystery of the crime and the need for revenge. The masterful use of style, […]
  • The Importance of Paintings in Hamlet The play revolves around the two opposing forces: truth and deceit, and we see a contrast between the importance of being true to one’s self and the importance of being truthful with others.
  • Elements of Literature Used in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” The audience may be able to show a degree of empathy with Hamlet as the play was written in a slightly satirical manner and shows that he is very much human in his qualities and […]
  • The Idea of Insanity in “Hamlet” He is maybe a bit spoiled and used to getting his own way, but he knows he has a duty to the state and to his family and he knows he is destined to someday […]
  • Gender Equality Question: “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare For the past few centuries, the rise of various movements have marked a certain change in the ideas and philosophies of man regarding the true nature of his existence, the pronounced inequalities of not only […]
  • Hamlet, Ophelia and Insanity in Shakespear’s “Hamlet” The knowledge the Queen has as to the specific nature of Ophelia’s death calls into question her sincerity in her lament.
  • Hesitation and Indeterminacy of Hamlet There is no denying the importance of the fact that the whole fabric of Shakespeare’s tragedy unfolds in Hamlet subjective perception and interpretation of his uncle and mother’ treason.
  • The Reflection of Time in “Hamlet” by Shakespeare Thesis Human existence and purpose of life were considered unimportant because the human soul had a divine nature, thus, they were afraid of death as an unknown state of human existence.
  • Education and Knowledge in “Hamlet” by Shakespeare Shakespeare portrays that in a world of complexity, instability, and unpredictability, people are struggling to make sense of the changes and to situate themselves within the new milieu.
  • The Issue of Human Manipulation in ‘Hamlet’ by W. Shakespeare It seems the love he contains in his heart is not enough for him to forgive and forget what has happened.
  • Hamlet And Laertes: A Comparison Hamlet, shocked by the revelation and shaken to the core by the knowledge of his mother’s role in the act, immediately makes his intention clear in the presence of the ghost.
  • Comparing Dr. Faustus and Hamlet Hamlet kills numerous characters in the play and this goes to show his excessive pride or in other words his sin of pride.
  • Hamlet: The Circumstances That Lead Hamlet to Soliloquy Out of his anger, he worries about the death of his father and the hasty marriage of his mother to his uncle.
  • Comparison of “Hamlet”, “King Lear” and “Othello” by Shakespeare Iago’s reports and the loss of the handkerchief appear to Othello reliable proofs of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness, and under the effect of anger the protagonist is both unable and unwilling to do further investigation.
  • William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” Drama Play These soliloquies are dramatic and ironical, Harold Wilson submits, with an irony that is implicit and eloquent in the extravagances of Hamlet’s rhetoric.
  • Ophelia from Shakespeare’s ”Hamlet” Shakespeare employs the traditional view of the woman as a means of illustrating its more dangerous elements through his portrayal of Ophelia in her innocence, the ease with which others use her, and the suspicion […]
  • Appearance vs. Reality in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex” In preparing for the performance, Hamlet provides the players with specific lines and actions to include within the overall play they are about to perform and gives them lengthy instructions as to the acting of […]
  • Hamlet: Gertrude’s Complicit Character However, Queen Gertrude seems to be more on the inside of the plotting and scheming occurring within the castle than an innocent woman should have.
  • “Hamlet” Scene Comparison: Hawke’s and Gibson’s Films In both Hawke’s and Gibson’s versions of Hamlet, the original text is used for dialogue between Hamlet and Ophelia as she is sent to trap the reasons for Hamlet’s insanity out of him.
  • Themes in “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare With consideration of critical responses, use of language and structure, and through a close analysis of Hamlet’s soliloquies, the role of Shakespeare’s characterization of Hamlet in shaping the enduring power of the text is appreciated […]
  • The Character of Gertrude in ‘Hamlet’ The character of Ophelia is responsible for projecting an aura of guilt and deception to the role of women in ‘Hamlet.’ She is not treacherous or complicated, but instead weak and insensibly dependent on the […]
  • Hamlet’s Parental Relationships The death of his father, the actions of his mother and his existing relationship with his uncle all have Hamlet confused regarding the true nature of the world.
  • William Shakespeare: Hamlet’s Actions and Inactions This paper is an attempt to analyze Hamlet’s actions and inactions to prove the authenticity of the application of these maxims to the protagonist.
  • Protagonist in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” The Protagonist plays a major part to achieve the goals of the story while the antagonist is an adversary who struggles against the efforts of the protagonist.
  • The Vision of the Main Character in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” The main character of the tragedy is Hamlet, a young man who comes to know about the real reasons of his father’s death from the ghost that claims to be the spirit of his father. […]
  • The Use of Revenge in William Shakespeare`s “Hamlet” The only character in the play to claim to have first-hand knowledge of the murder of Hamlet’s father and who speaks aloud about them to another character is the ghost of Hamlet’s father.
  • Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” as the Central Tragedy for Revenge Understanding The core concept of revenge in Hamlet, Shakespeare’s play, is the hesitation of the main character and his doubt moral and philosophical maxims in the whole world; the main idea of the play may be […]
  • Genji, Hamlet, Oedipus and Jesus Christ Character Analysis This paper will attempt to asses the characters in the following set of books and plays: The New Testament, Oedipus the King, Shakespeare Hamlet and Shikibu the tale of the Genji.
  • Hamlet’s Hesitation in Revenge: Four Separate Theories The play within a play is one of many tactics Hamlet employs over the course of the play to delay the revenge and therefore avoid his own death.
  • “The Prince” by Machiavelli and “Hamlet” by Shakespeare The author tries to bring to light the concepts of life when he uses the different aspects of death in the piece of work.
  • “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare: Overview In the play Hamlet is a noble soldier with admirable qualities but he avenges the death of his father using his free will.
  • Minor Characters in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” Some of the stories that the reader comes to know, about some people or events in the play, come inform of narrations from the minor characters. The minor characters give most of the information known […]
  • Supporting Characters in “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” Shakespeare utilizes secondary characters to depict the theme of friendship and loyalty, as these aspects are influential on the main character.
  • Hamlet’s Relationship With His Mother and Uncle Hamlet’s assessment of his issues is accurate in the sense that he already associates Claudius with problems, but the prince is too quick to judge his mother.
  • William Shakespeare: Hamlet and Macbeth It is important to examine the role that the setting plays in Hamlet and Macbeth in relation to the tragic flaw and developments of the plot.
  • Shakespearean Hamlet’s Character Interpretation For example, Hamlet believed that his mother was loyal to his father and to the kingdom, but he felt unhappy with how events unfolded when grieving.
  • Human Nature in Shakespearean Tragedy “Hamlet” Soliloquies maintain significant place in the play Hamlet, which start with the beginning of the play, and chase the protagonist almost near the close of the end of the play.
  • Hamlet: Analyzing Various Scenes On top of this, Hamlet hopes that seeing a replay of the murder of his father would move the king’s conscience to a point where he would be forced to admit his crime.
  • “The Lion King” Movie as Adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” The film parallels Hamlet as the main characters in the play and the film are both princes, and the antagonists are uncles who murder their brothers to gain power.
  • “Oedipus King” by Sophocles and “Hamlet” by Shakespeare The protagonist is on the verge of madness: an intelligent and unexcelled humanist in the world, which is an enemy to his ideas. However, Oedipus later comes to terms with his fate and takes responsibility […]
  • Oedipus and Hamlet Characters’ Contrast and Comparison The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast one of the main characters of literature – Oedipus and Hamlet, as well as to determine the qualities and skills of people which make them […]
  • Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”: The Use of Allusion and Metaphors Shakespeare’s use of allusion and metaphors in Hamlet is vital to creating the dramatic imagery surrounding the play and foreshadowing the extent of the growing conflict.
  • Is Shakespeare’s Hamlet Really Crazy? According to the first one, Hamlet pretends to be mad, so that he is not taken seriously and is not considered as dangerous, under the guise of a madman, he can say anything.
  • Consideration of the Ghost in “Hamlet” by Shakespeare The Ghost in the play is charitable because it helps Hamlet to know the truth about the way his father died and to begin finding clues for the murder.
  • Gender Roles and Representation of Women in “Hamlet” Specifically, the author refers to the problem of being confined in the prison of gender stereotypes that can be experienced when reading Shakespeare’s works.
  • Deceiving Appearances in “Hamlet” and “The Lion King” In particular, Claudius and Scar represent villains under the guise of well-wishers, while Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from Hamlet and hyenas from The Lion King appear worse than they seem.
  • Power and Importance of Hamlet’s Role in Shakespeare’s Play The first striking problem of Hamlet is the one of choice, which may be considered a reflection of the main conflict of the tragedy.
  • Hamlet and Gertrude Relationships in Shakespeare’s Play However, even though Hamlet threatens to murder Gertrude to “wring” her heart, the audience can understand that he loves his mother and wants her to repent of her sins and end the relationship with Hamlet’s […]
  • Does Shakespearean Hamlet Love Ophelia? The love that Hamlet has for Ophelia is demonstrated in letters that he wrote to her. Hamlet reminds Ophelia that he is in love with her in the later stages of Act 3 of the […]
  • Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” Play: Then and Now Hamlet’s cynicism, as well as his sense of meaning, distinguish him as a uniquely contemporary figure and a watershed moment in the theatrical past.
  • Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and the Modern World The tragedy of Hamlet addresses eternal problems: the incompatibility of lofty ideals and dreams with reality, the mismatch between the goals and the means of achieving them, and the role of the individual in history.
  • “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” and “A Raisin in the Sun” In this regard, the decisions of Hamlet, Claudius, Walter, and Lena illustrate the character’s commitment to family despite differences of opinion and disagreements.
  • Coping With Changes in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and O’Connor’s “A Good Man…” Tragedies in “Hamlet” and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” lead characters to rely on the change as a coping mechanism.”Hamlet” narrates the story of an individual dealing with a loss which leads him […]
  • Hamlet’s Mental State and Issues That Affected Him To begin with, it is evident to the reader that the main character is overwhelmed by the grief and mourning of his father.
  • Resilience of Hamlet and Oedipus The plot of the tragedy of Sophocles is built on a chain of accidents, which are in fact the fatal will of the powerful gods.
  • “Hamlet the Prince of Denmark” by William Shakespeare The first one is the plot of the play that lasts from the beginning till the scene when Hamlet meets the ghost of his father.
  • Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”: Hamlet as a Masculine Character Initially, the themes and scenes of the play were designed for staging at the Shakespeare theatre, and the costumes and the actors’ play were supposed to evoke awe for the rich life of medieval nobles.
  • Reality and Illusion in Shakespeare’s Hamlet The last and the greatest deceiving character is Claudius, who is far from being the brave brother of the monarch who ascended to the throne in order to protect the kingdom. It is evident that […]
  • Horatio (Hamlet): Character Analysis Hamlet does not follow his friend’s caution and goes with the ghost, where he learns of his father’s murder and swears to avenge him.
  • Hamlet vs. Oedipus Rex: Who Is More Resilient? In Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Oedipus is a protagonist; he is seeking the truth and is unconcerned about the harm it may pose.
  • How Effectively Does Shakespeare Introduce the Characters and Themes of “Hamlet”?
  • How Does Shakespeare Present Women and Sex in “Hamlet”?
  • Is Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” Based on a True Story?
  • What Are the Symbols in “Hamlet”?
  • Where Did Shakespeare Get His Inspiration for “Hamlet”?
  • How Does Shakespeare Use Conflict in “Hamlet” as a Way of Exploring Ideas?
  • What Is the Language Style in “Hamlet” Play?
  • How “Hamlet” Was Inspired by an Obscure Tale From Finland’s Kalavala?
  • How Does Shakespeare Introduce the Theme of Madness in “Hamlet”?
  • What Does “Hamlet” Teach Us About Humanity?
  • Did William Shakespeare Really Write “Hamlet”?
  • How Strange Behavior and Ghosts Are Depicted in “Hamlet”?
  • What Is the Most Important Theme in “Hamlet”?
  • What Is the Contrast Between Hamlet and Claudius in “Hamlet”?
  • What Is the the Meaning of Soliloquy in “Hamlet”?
  • How Perennial Issues of the Human Condition Are Imaged in “Hamlet”?
  • What Are the Similar Motifs Between “Wuthering Heights” and “Hamlet”?
  • Why Did Shakespeare Choose Loyalty and Betrayal as Lead Themes in “Hamlet”?
  • What Are the Inward and Outward Conflicts in “Hamlet”?
  • How Does Shakespeare Use Language in “Hamlet” to Teach the Reader?
  • What Is the Significance of “Hamlet’s” Creating?
  • How Do “Hamlet” Characters Solve Their Mental Problems?
  • How Crime Fiction and Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” Are Connected?
  • What Is Corruption and How Its Rampant Impact Is Depicted in “Hamlet”?
  • Why Is the Ending of “Hamlet” Ironic?
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IvyPanda . "146 Hamlet Essay Topics & Thesis Ideas." November 30, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/hamlet-essay-examples/.

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Good Example Of Essay On Hamlet

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Shakespeare , Hamlet , Act , Flaw , Death , Hubris , Family , Parents

Words: 1100

Published: 03/30/2023


According to Aristotle a tragic flaw is when the hero has a flaw in his/her judgment or personality that causes them to commit acts that will lead them to disaster (Froula). In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare the titular character of Hamlet has a number of tragic flaws. His biggest flaw is the fact that he thinks that he is cleverer than he actually is. Hamlet’s second tragic flaw is his indecisiveness and failure to act. Even though he has been told by the ghost of his dead father that "The serpent that did sting thy father's life now wears his crown" (Act I Scene V). This revealed to Hamlet that his uncle killed his father, and caused him to swear revenge against Claudius. By swearing to avenge his father’s death Hamlet was then honor bound to carry out his oath, "Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swift as meditation or the thoughts of love, may sweep to my revenge." (Act I Scene V). The problem is Hamlet is a procrastinator, who tends to overthink his actions and therefore ends up not acting. This is crucial in his downfall as it later gives Claudius the opportunity to plan Hamlet’s own death. Hamlet shows his failure to act when he has the chance to kill Claudius when he is in his bedroom praying. He walks up behind him undetected and has the perfect opportunity to kill him and avenge his father’s death. However, he does not because he claims that he does not want Claudius’ soul to go to heaven instead. This is because Old Hamlet had not been given time to repent of his sins. Hamlet’s issue could partly reflect that idea that he is caught between two worlds, that of the warrior and the scholar. Hamlet’s father was a warrior king, who had fought his way to power and kept his throne through warfare. Hamlet on the other hand has no fighting experience rather he is a scholar. This could explain why even though Hamlet is quick to speak like a warrior he is slow to act like one. Even Hamlet’s last act of killing Claudius is not achieved because of anything that he had planned. Rather it was the result of him having acting impulsively after Gertrude drank the poisoned and subsequently died. Hamlet many times throughout the play acts with passion instead of reason. one example of this is when he kills Polonius. He is in Gertrude’s bedroom demanding that she no longer shares Claudius’ bed or allow him to touch her because he views their marriage as incestuous. He then hears someone behind the curtain and believing that it is Claudius he begins stabbing at the person. Only to discover that is was not Claudius, but Polonius. He then disassociates himself from the situation by pretending that it was a rat he killed. This shows that Hamlet teeters between inaction and reacting too swiftly. This lack of balance combined with the hubris that Hamlet displays throughout the play, ultimately work together to cause his downfall. The more important flaw of Hamlet’s is that of hubris. Hamlet believes himself to be cleverer then he actually is. In the play he pretends to be mad in order to get Claudius to reveal his himself a murderer. This occurs with the “to be or not, to be” speech. He is giving a soliloquy on dying knowing that he has an audience. This is done so that Claudius will let his guard down and Hamlet will be able to get the truth. Hamlet’s issue is that he does not realize that he is a horrible actor and that Claudius can see right through him. The problem is that even though he is a bad actor, no one is quite sure when he is pretending. In the scene where he tells Ophelia “get thee to a nunnery” (Act 3 scene 2). Nevertheless, the end result of Hamlet’s rejection and her father’s death is Ophelia taking her own life. This combined with a number of other things poisons his perspective causing him to become cynical and bitter. This leads him to actually become made in the play. Then when he actually does go mad in the play Hamlet has no idea that he has. Therefore, he still believes that he is in control of the situation. This allows Claudius the opportunity to plan Hamlet’s death. In conclusion while Hamlet did suffer from the inability to act, it was not his inability to act the caused his death. Rather it was his tendency to go from inaction to overreaction. Had Hamlet reacted with reason when he noticed someone behind Gertrude’s curtains then Polonius would not have been killed, Ophelia then would not have died and Laertes would not have sought revenge against Hamlet. This would have meant that Claudius would have had no one to kill Hamlet for him and Hamlet may have succeeded in getting his revenge. Nonetheless the flaw was not solely with Hamlet, but rather with his personality. Hamlet by nature is intellectual and philosophical. These traits do not lend themselves well to someone who is being asked to seek vengeance for someone’s death. Instead he agrees to take on the responsibility for a job that he is not qualified for. However, the tendency to be philosophical and intellectual causes Hamlet to be full of hubris. It is his hubris that allows him to confront Gertrude and demand that she no longer has relations with her husband, it is his hubris that has him sign the papers ordering Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s death. Finally, it is his hubris that stands in the way of him killing Claudius while he is praying. His hubris here is so strong that he wants to play God and send Claudius’ soul to hell

Works Cited

Froula, Josef. Shakespeare's Hamlet: A Suitable Tragic Hero According to the Standards Set Forth in Aristotle's "Poetics". 2001. Print. Ryan, Kiernan. Shakespearean Tragedy: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth. Place of Publication Not Identified: Bloomsbury Arden, 2016. Print. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's, 2002. Print. Bradley, A C. Shakespeare, William, Stephen Greenblatt, Walter Cohen, Jean E. Howard, Katharine Eisaman Maus, and Andrew Gurr. The Norton Shakespeare: Essential Plays, the Sonnets. New York: W.W. Norton, 2009. Print. Smith, Peter J. "The Flaw in the Flaw: Shakespeare’s Tragic Method and a Problem of Criticism." Social Shakespeare (1995): 40-61. Web. 1 June 2016.


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