Hamlet’s “To be or not to be”soliloquy is a notable piece from the play, and it also serves as an important reminder of Hamlet’s central themes. Hamlet’s soliloquy uses imagery to address the themes of life and death and speculate what occurs after death as…
Essays on Hamlet
by William Shakespeare
Best topics on Hamlet
Between 1599 and 1601
Hamlet, Ophelia, Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, Laertas, Horatio
Saxo Grammaticus, a chronicler from the 13th century, preserved the legend of Amleth. Shakespeare derived his story from that legend.
Existentialism, skepticism, relative truth
Many critics single out Hamlet as the most influential and powerful piece of literature. It’s the second most filmed story of all time (after Cinderella).
The play opens with Hamlet mourning his father, the King of Denmark. His father’s ghost tells Hamlet to kill his uncle, the new king, for revenge. Throughout the plot, Hamlet contemplates different philosophical issues, such as life and death, as well as madness. The King of Denmark predicts Hamlet's intentions and wants to kill him to prevent his own death. Hamlet, the King, Hamlet's opponent and the Queen are all killed during a duel at the end of the play.
Shakespeare explored an unusual form in this play - the soliloquy. The main character stands alone on the stage, opening his mind and talking to himself. This approach is physiologically complex, and it’s an excellent base for research, debate, and writing.
Revenge is the play’s main theme, but ideas of appearance and reality, politics, religion, and corruption are also explored.
- “This above all: to thine own self be true.”
- “Conscience doth make cowards of us all.”
- “What piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving, how express and admirable in action, how like an angel in apprehension, how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?”
Hamlet was the author’s most popular play during his lifetime. The character’s hesitation to kill has inspired a debate among philosophers and psychologists. Some see it as the author’s attempt to prolong the plot and add suspense, but others see it as a complex ethical issue.
Hamlet is a great play for introducing students to irony, metaphors, similes, and other stylistic forms. It’s a complex read that can be debated from different angles.
This is one of the most profound meditations on human nature and existence in literature. It explores concepts that are always current: honor, revenge, desire, justice, mortality, and more.
The language in the play may be difficult and boring for today’s readers.