There are several themes throughout the play, and some of these are death, insanity and revenge. The main themes are probably death and revenge, because it is a tragedy where everyone dies at the end.

After his father dies, Hamlet promises to revenge his murder. When the ghost of Hamlet Senior tells Hamlet that he was murdered by Claudius, his brother, Hamlet starts to change and pretend that he is crazy to find ways to connect Claudius to the murder. The main external conflict is between Hamlet and Claudius, Hamlet trying to have a revenge on Claudius. 

The whole play involves deaths, and where everyone wants to have a revenge on somebody. Claudius`s plot to kill Hamlet results in death of th…


Greed and Corruption

Capture of power and hypocrisy

At the beginning of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, the audience does not yet know what has been going on behind the scenes of Claudius' accession to the throne. Nor can all the characters in the play, possibly with the exception of Gertrude, suspect at this point that the new king Claudius is basing his rule on a devious fratricide.

Outwardly, Claudius hypocritically pretends to mourn the death of his brother (1.2.19) and to care wholeheartedly for the well-being of his son, Hamlet: "As of a father: for let the world take note, You are the most immediate to our throne; And with no less nobility of love Than that which dearest father bears his son, Do I impart toward you." (1.2.111-115). In the public talk, it is said that the former king was bitten by a snake in his sleep and died as a result of the poisoning.

However, at the beginning of the drama, the audience can already suspect that all is not right in Denmark. Already in the first scene, the phantom-like and silent appearance of the ghost indicates that the change of throne has not taken place as peacefully as all of Denmark believes.

The crown prince Hamlet is apparently the only one who still mourns the death of his father. His mother Gertrude, the wife of the late king, has already willingly married her …


Revenge and justice

Hamlet's mission of revenge

Revenge is also an important concept in “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare.

When Hamlet learns from the ghost of his deceased father that Claudius has murdered him, he resolves from now on to be guided by nothing but the revenge mission set before him: "And thy commandment all alone shall live Within the book and volume of my brain, Unmix'd with baser matter" (1.5.109)

The injustice done to his father is particularly treacherous: he was sent to his death "Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd" (1.5.83) and is therefore condemned to stew in purgatory during the day and wander around as a ghost at night. His father's continued misery in the afterlife provides Hamlet with an even greater reason not to reject the demand for vengeance placed upon him. He feels called to restore justice in Denmark: "The time is out of joint: O cursed spite, That ever I was born to set it right!" (1.5.208).

Hamlet, however, is a reasonable man; he does not immediately allow his impulsiveness and feelings of revenge to control him. Instead of immediately confronting his uncle Claudius with his father's accusation, he takes it upon himself to first verify his uncle's guilt on his own. He even feigns insanity to be able to investigate without interference. However, his inaction torments him. He curses himself for not pursuing his, for him almost divine, mission with a greater determination: "I, the son of a dear father murder'd, Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell, Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words, And fall a-cursing, like a very drab, A scullion!" (2.2.569-573)

Unlike in other Elizabethan revenge dramas, such as "The Spanish Tragedy" by Thomas Kyd, Hamlet does not use the acting performance, the play within the play, to kill the object of his revenge. He merely wants to first obtain definitive proof of the Claudius’ guilt.

After the actors perform a fictional play that resembles the murder of Hamlet's father, Hamlet can be certain that Claudius did indeed murder his father. At the very point where the king is murdered in the play, Claudius breaks off the performance with a pale face and leaves the room immediately (3.2.257). Hamlet now has no reason to delay his revenge.

Hamlet's hesitation

Shortly after the performance, Hamlet finds Claudius alo…


"Hamlet" as a love story

Ophelia's love

Due to the fact that the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia occupies a central place within the drama plot, "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare can also be read to some extent as a love story. However, it lacks central components of this genre. Their first acquaintance, their first advances, and their first, if any, erotic contacts are not addressed.

At the beginning of the drama, Ophelia is still convinced that she is really loved by the prince of the throne: "My lord, he hath importuned me with love In honourable fashion. (...) And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord, Wi…

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