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Hamlet Essay Examples and Topics

by William Shakespeare

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Essay Topics
Brief overview
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Best topics on Hamlet

Welcome to the list of college students that have faced the challenges of writing an essay on Hamlet! While we know quite a lot about the timeless tragic play by ... William Shakespeare, writing something unique is not that easy. Start with the subjects that are being brought up here like madness, the relation between life and death, revenge, fearing for one's life, and trust. See our free essay on Hamlet examples as well as it will help you remember the main idea in a much deeper way and focus on something that rocks your boat. If you are stuck with ideas, these free samples will help you see why this play is so famous even if you choose to skip the major subject, which is death here.
date
Date

Between 1599 and 1601

author
Author

William Shakespeare

type
Type

Play

genre
Genre

Tragedy

characters
Major Characters

Hamlet, Ophelia, Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, Laertas, Horatio

based-on
Based On

Saxo Grammaticus, a chronicler from the 13th century, preserved the legend of Amleth. Shakespeare derived his story from that legend.

symbols-motives
Symbols/Motives

Existentialism, skepticism, relative truth

influence
Influence

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).

plot
Plot

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.

purpose
Why Is This Topic Important?

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.

idea
Main Ideas

Revenge is the play’s main theme, but ideas of appearance and reality, politics, religion, and corruption are also explored.

quotes
Key Quotes
  • “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?”
interesting-facts
Interesting Facts

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.

purpose
Why Should This Topic Be Used?

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.

argument-for
Arguments For

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.

argument-against
Arguments Against

The language in the play may be difficult and boring for today’s readers.

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