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What kind of plays?. During Shakespeare’s career, fashions and tastes in drama changed. He wrote mostly comedies and history plays during the Elizabethan period – 1558-1603 Tragedies and tragicomedies during the reign of King James – 1603-1625. What Kind of Plays?. Tragedy

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what kind of plays
What kind of plays?
  • During Shakespeare’s career, fashions and tastes in drama changed.
    • He wrote mostly comedies and history plays during the Elizabethan period – 1558-1603
    • Tragedies and tragicomedies during the reign of King James – 1603-1625
what kind of plays1
What Kind of Plays?
  • Tragedy
    • Ends in the death of one or more of the main characters.
    • Most of his tragedies involve historical individuals and events
what kind of plays2
What Kind of Plays?
  • Comedy
    • Usually has a happy ending
    • Can also include jokes, farce and innuendo
    • His are usually love stories
    • Settings are far away from England
what kind of plays3
What Kind of Plays?
  • Tragicomedy
    • A mixture of tragedy and comedy
    • Seems to move toward a tragic ending but a twist in the plot saves the characters.
what kind of plays4
What Kind of Plays?
  • History plays
    • Usually tell the stories of great leaders and kings
    • He sometimes altered what he found in the history books to suit his own dramatic purposes and make the plays more exciting.
aristotle and his principles of tragedy the poetics
Aristotle and his Principles of Tragedy – The Poetics
  • Tragedy is a representation of an action, which is serious, complete in itself and of a certain length
  • Acted and not narrated
  • Excites pity or fear and allows catharsis - a healthy release for such emotions
  • Tragic heroes are virtuous and good men whose misfortune is a tragic flaw in character and not a vice
  • Tragic plot is from happiness to misery – fall from a great height
aristotle s poetics
  • The philosopher Aristotle said in his work Poetics that tragedy is characterized by seriousness and dignity and involving a great person who experiences a reversal of fortune. Tragedy results in a catharsis (emotional cleansing) or healing for the audience through their experience of these emotions in response to the suffering of the characters in the drama.
  • According to Aristotle, "the structure of the best tragedy should be not simple but complex and one that represents incidents arousing fear and pity--for that is peculiar to this form of art." This reversal of fortune must be caused by the tragic hero's hamartia, which is often mistranslated as a character flaw, but is more correctly translated as a mistake. According to Aristotle, "The change to bad fortune which he undergoes is not due to any moral defect or flaw, but a mistake of some kind." The reversal is the inevitable but unforeseen result of some action taken by the hero. It is also a misconception that this reversal can be brought about by a higher power (e.g. the law, the gods, fate, or society.

In addition, the tragic hero may achieve some revelation or recognition. Aristotle terms this sort of recognition "a change from ignorance to awareness."

  • According to Aristotle :Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is admirable, complete (composed of an introduction, a middle part and an ending), and possesses magnitude; in language made pleasurable, each of its species separated in different parts; performed by actors, not through narration; effecting through pity and fear the purification of such emotions.
  • Common usage of tragedy refers to any story with a sad ending, whereas to be an Aristotelian tragedy the story must fit the set of requirements as laid out by Poetics
shakespearean tragedy
Shakespearean tragedy
  • Shakespeare wrote tragedies from the beginning of his career. One of his earliest plays was the Roman tragedy Titus Andronicus, which he followed a few years later with Romeo and Juliet. However, his most admired tragedies were written in a seven-year period between 1601 and 1608. These include his four major tragedies Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth, along with Antony & Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Julius Caesarand Troilus and Cressida.
shakespearean tragedy1
Shakespearean Tragedy
  • Though he had no more than common education, followed no set of rules or patterns.
  • Prof.Bradley said..”Shakespeare had no conception of tragedy nor had any philosophy”, he had only ‘a sense for tragedy’,‘ genius is not bound by rules, he makes his own rules and depicts life as he sees it ‘
  • A Shakespearean tragedy is a story of exceptional suffering leading to the death of a man, occupying high position , with other characters also
shakespeare s conception of tragedy
Shakespeare’s conception of Tragedy
  • A Tragedy: a dramatic representation of serious and important actions end in a disastrous conclusion for the protagonist
  • It started with Aristotle in his Poetics (4th c) with its elements:
  • Catharsis : purgation
  • Hamartia : Tragic-flaw
  • Tragic hero: of high rank ,suffers misfortunes because of his hamartia, ends in death.
  • In his early tragedies, Shakespeare was influenced by Aristotle, Seneca as well as by Marlowe and kyd, by the time he came to write his great tragedies he deviated radically from the influence of the Aristotelian norms to follow his own style and rules
shakespearean tragedy2
Shakespearean Tragedy
  • Evil and the corruption of man’s heart by evil.
  • Hamlet: fighting against the outside evil;
  • Othello: an outward evil causes a man’s fall;
  • King Lear: man’s mistakes set free the evils;
  • Macbeth; an outward evil destroys a hero.
the elements of a shakespearean tragedy
The elements of a Shakespearean tragedy
  • The Hero, a Person of High Rank
  • The element of Melodrama
  • A Defect in the Hero’s Character
  • Element of Fate
  • The Element of Conflict
  • Development in the Hero’s Character
  • Comic Elements in a Tragedy
the hero a person of high rank
The Hero, a Person of High Rank
  • The tragic hero must be a man holding a lofty position and commanding respect; and the suffering or misfortune must be of an exceptional or extraordinary kind so as to produce strong tragic feelings, especially of pity, awe, and terror.
  • Hamlet is primarily and chiefly the tragedy of Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark. Hamlet was a well-known, honored, and well-beloved figure of the political life of Denmark
  • The play depicts the mental suffering and torture which Hamlet endures as a result of what he rightly considers to be the shameful conduct of his mother in remarrying within two months of the death of her first husband, and in marrying this time a man who is in every respect inferior to her first husband
  • Hamlet’s mental suffering is intensified by the revelation which the Ghost makes to him and by the task which the Ghost now imposes on him. Unable to avenge the murder of his father because of a temperamental inability, Hamlet undergoes even greater mental suffering till ultimately he dies as a result of the wound that he sustains in a fencing-match with Laertes, but not before he has stabbed the murderer of his father and thus at last taken his revenge.
  • Apart from the conduct of his mother in having re-married hastily, and apart from the Ghost’s shocking revelation, what distresses Hamlet is what he believes to be Ophelia’s betrayal of his love for her and of his trust in her.
the element of melodrama
The Element of Melodrama
  • There is always in Shakespeare’s tragedies an element of melodrama which contributes to the feeling of terror. In Hamlet, we have several melodramatic elements:
  • First of all, the appearance of the Ghost. Indeed, the appearance of the Ghost is a blood –curdling sight.
  • The murder of Polonius:The Queen is stricken by awe and grief and says to Hamlet:”Oh me, what hast thou done? Oh, what a rash and bloody deed is this?” This is a murder committed on the stage before the very eyes of the audience.
  • The scene of Laertes’s revolt against the King has a melodramatic element
  • Laertes’s Leaping into the grave that has been newly dug for the burial of Ophelia, followed by Hamlet’s leaping into it.
  • Finally, of course, there are the various murders which bring the play to a close .These several deaths on the stage have obviously a melodramatic character
  • A Defect in the Hero’s Character
  • The tragedy of Hamlet is due mainly to defect in his own character. This defect is his incapacity for quick decisions. Hamlet is certainly capable of impulsive action, but he is not capable of planned or premeditated action. The result is that he goes on delaying his revenge till ultimately the initiative is taken by his enemy against him. Hamlet is by nature given to reflection and meditation. This delay of his revenge, this irresolution, this shrinking from what he has already called his duty, constitutes a serious flaw in his character and chiefly responsible for his tragedy
element of fate
Element of Fate
  • Fate or destiny also plays a part in the tragic dramas of Shakespeare. The appearance of the Ghost, therefore, arouses a sense of mystery and creates a feeling that fate is playing a deliberate part in human affairs. Hamlet again sees the Ghost, this time in his mother’s closet, and is told by it that it has come to “whet thy almost blunted purpose.” The sense of fate is further deepened in us by the incident of a pirate vessel attacking the ship by which Hamlet is proceeding to England under the command of the King. The sense of fate in this play receives further emphasis by the words of Hamlet in Act V, when he says that there is divinity which shapes human ends, and that there is a providence even in the fall of a sparrow.
the element of conflict
The Element of Conflict
  • Conflict is the essence of a Shakespearean tragedy. This conflict is of two types: (a)outward conflict among the various characters, and (b) inner conflict, in the mind of the hero. Both these types of conflict exist side by side in a Shakespearean tragedy. In Hamlet, the outward conflict takes place between Hamlet and Claudius. Towards the end of the play an outward conflict also takes place between Hamlet and Laertes.
  • The inner conflict takes place in the mind of Hamlet, and is revealed to us in Hamlet’s successive soliloquies. Almost every soliloquy of Hamlet contains a mental debate. The most celebrated of these soliloquy is the one that begins:” To be or not to be-that is the question” which contains perhaps the most agonizing debate in Hamlet’s mind.
development in the hero s character
Development in the Hero’s Character
  • In a tragedy the hero normally comes to the realization of a truth of which he had been unaware. There is , a Aristotle says, “a change from ignorance to knowledge”. There is a transformation in the character of the hero. When we first meet Hamlet, he is in a state of depression. The world to him is “an unweeded garden” from which he would willingly depart. He has found corruption not only in the state but in existence itself. We soon learn that he had not always been so. Ophelia tells us that he had been the ideal Renaissance prince-soldier, scholar, courtier. And though we catch glimpses of his former self in his conversations with Horatio, his state of depression continues. By the final scene, however, his composure has returned. In the course of the action he has grown in stature and wisdom. He is no longer troubled by reasoning doubts. Earlier in scene (Act V, Scene ii, Lines 8-11) he had said:
  • Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well
  • When our deep plots do pall, and that should learn us
  • There’s divinity that shapes our ends,
  • Rough-hew them how we will
  • It is the realization that man is not totally free agent. With this realization Hamlet can face the fencing-match and the King’s intrigues without concern for self. What matters at the end of an important tragedy is not success or failure, but what a man is.
comic elements in a tragedy
Comic Elements in a Tragedy
  • In Shakespeare the comic and the serious are not dissociated.
  • A hall-mark of Shakespeare’s mature work is the presentation of things and their opposites at the same time. In Hamlet, we laugh at the affected and superficial Osric and we are amused by Polonius , whose inadequate worldly wisdom stands in contrast to the deeper truths the play reveals. But the most central use of comedy is Hamlet’s cynical wit.
hamlet an introduction
Hamlet : An introduction
  • Hamlet belongs to a genre of plays often called “revenge tragedies”. These were popular in Elizabethan England and in them a hero was called upon to punish an evildoer for a crime he had committed. Often in such plays therewas a ghost who could not rest until the person who had caused his death was killed. The ghost in Hamlet is thus a traditional figure whose role was to urge the hero to avenge an evil deed.

- Revenge play and the influence of Seneca

  • Seneca, a Roman playwright and a philosopher
  • Took incidents from Greek mythology for his tragedies
  • Included horror, bloody action and ranting and high-flown speeches to produce tragic effects
  • Introduced a ghost: a restless spirit urging the avenger to take action and achieve vengeance
  • Shakespeare in Hamlet adopted the dramatic tradition of the revenge tragedy
  • Revenge theme needs exiting, fast-moving plots.
  • A stock element of the revenge is the ghost, appearance of a spirit feeling restless because of a desire for vengeance against the person who had caused suffering
conventions of revenge tragedy as seen in hamlet
Conventions of revenge tragedy as seen in Hamlet
  • The central theme is revenge
  • The appearance of a ghost
  • Melodramatic action: violent, bloody, terrifying scenes
  • Several deaths on the stage
  • Feigned madness
  • A play within a play
hamlet an introduction1
Hamlet: An Introduction

The Source

  • Shakespeare didn’t invent the plot of his play’s he borrowed them and made them his own, he didn’t hesitate to use whatever source he had.
  • The first literary treatment of Hamlet is that of a Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus who wrote in the 12th century HistoriaeDanicae, an account of his country’s past in Latin, printed in 1514, included the story of Amleth. The story, may be based on historical legend probably taken place in the 10th century
  • It is unknown whether Shakespeare knew Hamlet story from reading Saxo or not. His main source was probably a lost Elizabethan play called the Ur-hamlet which may have been written by Thomas Kyd (1558-94) the author of the successful revenge play The Spanish Tragedy (1589)
hamlet an introduction2
Hamlet: An Introduction


  • abroad range of linguistic forms: from complex and beautiful poetry,
  • to prose filled with puns and other comic words.
  • Hamlet uses different forms: verse in his great soliloquies, with Horatio in contrast he uses prose when he talks with Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, and in his sarcastic conversations with Polonius.
  • The play employs many similes, metaphors and puns which were very popular in Shakespeare’s day. For example
  • Hamlet :(Aside) a little more than kin, and less than kind
hamlet an introduction3
Hamlet: An Introduction


  • Much of the play’s greatness is attributed to the presentation of the characters in the play, especially the central character of Hamlet a number of questions about the nature of characters are left unanswered, and continue to fascinate new generations of readers of the play and audiences in the theatre
  • None of the characters is entirely straightforward they all react in different ways to different situations
  • The range of reactions shown by the characters is realistic of human nature
  • Ex: Hamlet, within the play’s fast moving action, seems at times to rush into unpremeditated action in a highly emotional way, whereas at other times he restrains himself when he might have acted.
  • This variation of Hamlet’s tempo is a mark of his intellectual and complex nature
  • The story takes place in the country of Denmark in the late medieval period.
the story
The Story
  • The raw material that Shakespeare appropriated in writing Hamlet is the story of a Danish prince whose uncle murders the prince's father, marries his mother, and claims the throne. The prince pretends to be feeble-minded to throw his uncle off guard, then manages to kill his uncle in revenge.
5 acts
5 Acts
  • 1. Beginning: Ghost orders revenge
  • 2. Rising action: Hamlet acts mad
  • 3. Climax: Hamlet does things (puts on a play, berates his mother, kills Polonius)
  • 4. Counterstroke: Events conspire against Hamlet while he sails to England (Fortinbras, Ophelia, Laertes)
  • 5. Catastrophe: Hamlet apologizes, kills king, dies.
the story1

HAMLET, the prince of Denmark, returns home from college for the funeral of his father, KING HAMLET. He finds that his mother, QUEEN GERTRUDE, is now married to the new king, CLAUDIUS, brother of the old king, and Hamlet’s uncle. The ghost of Hamlet’s father visits Hamlet, claims he was murdered by Claudius, and commands Hamlet to avenge him. Hamlet is uncertain of the right course of action, and so feigns madness as he ponders the deed. His unusual behavior alarms those around him, including his girlfriend OPHELIA. To test Claudius’s guilt, Hamlet stages a play that includes the exact details of the murder. When Claudius storms out of the audience, Hamlet is convinced of his guilt and plans to kill him.

He later discovers Claudius praying but decides not to kill him. Then, while Hamlet is talking with his mother, the queen, he discovers that someone is hiding behind the curtains. Thinking it’s Claudius, Hamlet stabs him — only to discover that he has killed Claudius’s advisor, POLONIUS, father of Ophelia and Laertes .


Claudius banishes Hamlet to England, with a secret plan to have him executed on arrival. Hamlet learns of the plot and

escapes. Upon returning home, he finds that OPHELIA has

drowned herself. LAERTES, Ophelia’s brother and Polonius’

son, teams up with Claudius to devise a plan to kill Hamlet

during a duel with a poison tipped sword. The plan backfires:

Queen Gertrude dies, Laertes dies, and Hamlet is fatally stabbed. Before succumbing to his wounds, Hamlet slays

Claudius. FORTINBRAS, the Prince of Norway, takes over as

the new king.

acts and scenes
Acts and Scenes

- ACT 1

Scene 1: The ghost appears outside the castle.

Scene 2: Hamlet grieves for his dead father.

Scene 3: Polonius and Laertes warn Ophelia about Hamlet.

Scene 4: Hamlet meets the ghost.

Scene 5: The ghost commands Hamlet to avenge him.

- ACT 2

Scene 1: Hamlet’s behavior frightens Ophelia.

Scene 2: Plans are made to watch Hamlet.

- ACT 3

Scene 1: The “To be or not to be” scene.

Scene 2: The “play within a play” scene.

Scene 3: Hamlet doesn’t kill Claudius as he prays.

Scene 4: Hamlet kills Polonius thinking that he is Claudius.


- ACT 4

Scene 1: Claudius decides to banish Hamlet to England.

Scene 2: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern retrieve Hamlet.

Scene 3: Claudius announces Hamlet’s banishment.

Scene 4: While on the way to England, Hamlet encounters


Scene 5: Ophelia goes mad.

Scene 6: Horatio finds out that Hamlet has escaped.

Scene 7: Claudius and Laertes plot to kill Hamlet. Ophelia dies.

- ACT 5

Scene 1: Gravedigger’s scene and Ophelia’s funeral.

Scene 2: The duel: all but Horatio die. Fortinbras becomes the

new king.

hamlet act i
Hamlet, Act I
  • Scene 1: The Ghost, the setting & context
  • Scene 2: Claudius, Gertrude, & Hamlet
  • Scene 3: Laertes, Ophelia, & Polonius
  • Scenes 4 & 5: Hamlet and the Ghost
act1 sci the appearance of the ghost of the late king of denmark
Act1, SCI: The appearance of the ghost of the late king of Denmark
  • The play opens at castle of Elsinore
  • The ghost , an important supernatural element in the play, appears and seen by the officers of the guard and by Horatio
  • The appearance of the ghost regarded as a kind of evil-omen for the state of Denmark [Denmark is threatened by young Fortinbras, the son of the dead king of Norway , who had been defeated and killed by old Hamlet]
  • The ghost as foreshadowing a coming event
  • the belief that disturbances in nature foretell and accompany disturbances in human affairs has its sources in Astrology and religion and this belief was current in Shakespeare’s time: Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark
  • In line(170 / p.17) the hero’s name is introduced to us :”Let us impart what we have seen to-night/unto young Hamlet”
  • The scene leaves us with a haunting sense of unexplained evil troubling both the dead and the living
hamlet s first soliloquy lines 129 59 pp 25 27
Hamlet’s first soliloquy (lines 129-59 PP.25 -27)
  • It shows his melancholic state of mind before his interview with the ghost
  • It shows the meditative nature of Hamlet and prepares the audience for the prolonged delay in taking action for revenge
  • It throws light on Hamlet’s dead father, an excellent King and a loving husband, showing Hamlet’s a attachment to his dead father
  • Hamlet’s references to Hyperion, Niobe, and Hercules show him to be well versed in classical literature
  • It shows Hamlet’s tendency to generalize,” Frailty, theyname is woman”, a tendency which appears frequently in his soliloquies
  • Unfavorable impression of both the King and the Queen
hamlet s first soliloquy cont
Hamlet’s first soliloquy(Cont.)
  • In presenting Hamlet first to audience Shakespeare uses an interwoven series of references to the world, the state, and the individual in Hamlet’s first soliloquy
  • The hasty remarriage of his mother , and the fact that the kingdom is in the hands of an unworthy man shatter his picture of the world , the state, and the individual. His sense of evil in all three spheres is closely interwoven:
  • The general uselessness of the world :

How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable

Seem to me all the uses of this world

……….’Ti an unweeded garden (Lines 33-5)

  • The excellence of his father as a King compared to his ‘stayr-like uncle’
  • The lustfulness of his mother who has violated the natural law by the brevity of her grief and the hastiness of her marriage :
  • O God ! a beast , that wants discourse of reason
  • Would have mourned longer (Line 150-51)
act 1 sc2 a room of state in the castle
Act 1, SC2 : A room of state in the castle
  • Characters: King, Queen, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes
  • Messengers sent to the king of Norway
  • Hamlet , questioned by the King and Quean
  • Hamlet’s grief at his mother’s hasty remarriage – Hamlet’s first soliloquy
  • Hamlet informed about the appearance of the ghost
  • Critical comments:
  • Hamlet’s Character Revealed
  • Hamlet’s two most striking qualities:-
  • His melancholic state of mind
  • His reflective nature
  • Hamlet uses bitter irony and sarcasm in his conversation with the present King
  • He uses a pun: “I am Too much in the sun” (Line 67,p.21)has a double meaning
  • Hamlet’s soliloquies reveal his reflective and poetic nature
act 1 sc3
Act 1 , SC3:
  • A room in polonius’s, house
  • Polonius ,Laertes, Ophelia
  • Laertes is ready to depart to France
  • Both, Polonius and Laertes advise Ophelia not to encourage Hamlet’s advances to her expressing distrust of Hamlet’s love for her

- Critical comments

  • Laertes as an affectionate loving brother
  • Ophelia as a simple –minded girl with a submissive and obedient nature
  • Polonius’s love of words produces comic effect
act 1 sc4
Act 1, SC4
  • The platform in front of the castle at Elsinore
  • Hamlet , Horatio, Marcellus
  • The ghost seen by Hamlet
  • Hamlet follows the ghost who wants to speak to him privately

- Critical comments: Character Revelation; Atmosphere of Horror

  • The King, described by Hamlet, is a drunkard
  • The ghost appears, the atmosphere of horror is created: “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”, is a significant comment by Marcellus
act1 sc5
Act1, SC5:
  • The Ghost Disclosure to Hamlet
  • Another part of the Platform
  • Hamlet , the Ghost ,Horatio, Marcellus
  • The ghost revelation forms the basis for the action of the rest of the play
  • The ghost, the dead King’s spirit, tells Hamlet about his murderer who poisoned him, took his crown and his wife
  • The ghost asks Hamlet to take revenge
  • Hamlet swears Horatio and his companions to secrecy
  • Hamlet decides to put on an “antic-disposition
critical comments the most important scene in act1
Critical comments: The most important scene in Act1
  • Hamlet ,shocked and stunned by the ghost’s disclosure ,had never suspected his uncle of having murdered his father and his mother of infidelity
  • In his 2nd soliloquy, Hamlet decides to wipe out everything from his memory and only to preserve in it the ghost’s words (P.57 Lines 92-112)
  • The way Hamlet speaks of never forgetting the ghost’s words makes us think that he will soon take an action against the murderer
  • Hamlet seems aware of his inability for the grave responsibility imposed upon him. In the closing speech of the SC., he feels sorry that :
  • “The time is out of joint.
  • O cursed spite
  • That ever I was born to set it right!”
  • The SC., throws light on the character of the present King who is a perfect villain. We begin to hate him as much as Hamlet does
  • Another important point is Hamlet’s decision to pretend madness and put on an “antic-disposition”
  • Hamlet’s tendency for generalization:
  • “That one may smile , and smile, and be a villain”
hamlet act ii
Hamlet, Act II
  • Scene 1: Polonius and Reynaldo
  • Scene 2:
    • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
    • Polonius, Gertrude, and Claudius
    • Polonius and Hamlet
    • Hamlet and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern
    • Hamlet and the Players
hamlet act ii cont
Hamlet, Act II (cont.)
  • Ophelia’s account of Hamlet’s Strange Behaviour -Sc1
  • Polonius’s Character Further Revealed- Sc1
  • Two Courtiers, Deputed to Probe Hamlet’s Mind –Sc2
  • Polonius’s Interpretation of Hamlet’s Madness-Sc2
  • Method in Hamlet’s Madness, According to Polonius-Sc2
  • Hamlet’s correct Guess About the Two Courtiers-Sc2
  • The News About the Arrival of a Company of Actors-Sc2
  • The Actors Engaged by Hamlet to Stage a play- Sc2
  • Hamlet’s Decision to Catch the Conscience of the king –Sc2
  • Hamlet’s 3rd soliloquy :(Act2- Sc2 Lines 528-588 /pp 113-15)
  • The Character of Hamlet Further Revealed –Sc2
hamlet act iii
Hamlet, Act III
  • Scene 1: The plot thickens; Hamlet and Ophelia
  • Scene 2:
    • Hamlet and the Players
    • Hamlet and Horatio
    • Hamlet and Ophelia
    • The Play within a Play
  • Scene 3: Claudius’s Prayer
  • Scene 4: Hamlet & Gertrude; Polonius slain
act iii sc 1 2 3 4 cont
Act III, Sc.1+2+3+4 (Cont.)
  • Two important soliloquies in Sc1:The King&Hamlet
  • Hamlet &Ophelia Relationship
  • Analysis of Hamlet’s most famous soliloquy: To Be Or Not To Be
  • The king, Upset by The Mousetrap
  • Hamlet, Convinced of the king’s Guilt- Sc2
  • The King Troubled by his conscience
  • An opportunity for Revenge, Missed, Sc.3
  • Hamlet’s Lack of Will and Determination
  • Hamlet’s Stinging Words to His Mother
  • Hamlet,Capable of Impulsive Action, The Murder of Polonius-Sc4:TheTurning Point
  • 11-The Second Appearance of the Ghost :The Queen’s Closet
  • 12-Reading aloud a brief part of Hamlet’s Soliloquy: To Be Or Not To Be
hamlet act iv
Hamlet, Act IV
  • Scene 1: Disposing of the corpse
  • Scene 2: Hamlet and Rosencrantz & Guildlenstern
  • Scene 3:
    • In search of the corpse
    • Hamlet and Cladius
    • Hamlet departs for England
hamlet act iv1
Hamlet, Act IV
  • Scene 4: Fortinbras marches; Hamlet reflects
  • Scene 5:
    • Ophelia’s “madness”
    • Laertes “storms” the castle
    • Laertes and Ophelia
  • Scene 6: Letter from Hamlet re: pirate ship
  • Scene 7:
    • Cladius and Laertes conspire
    • Ophelia dies
act iv sc 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 cont
Act IV SC.1+2+3+4+5+6+7 (Cont.)
  • The King shocked by Polonius’s Murder – Sc1
  • The king secret plan to have Hamlet killed- Sc3
  • Hamlet’s soliloquy in Sc4, a critical comment
  • An encounter between Laertes and the king- Sc5
  • Reasons of Ophelia’s Madness, A heart-Rending Scene -Sc5
  • The king’s Intrigue against Hamlet is a failure -Sc5
  • Another scheme, devised by the king for the Murder of Hamlet-Sc7
hamlet act v
Hamlet, Act V
  • Scene 1:
    • Clown and gravedigger
    • Hamlet and Yorick
    • Ophelia’s burial
  • Scene 2:
    • Hamlet explains his trick
    • Osric invites Hamlet to fencing match
    • Madness and mayhem ensue
    • Fortinbras claims Denmark
act v sc 1 2 cont
Act V. Sc 1+2 (cont.)
  • A scene in the Grave-yard : Comic Relief in the 1st. Part of Sc.1.
  • In the Grave-yard scene Hamlet reaches the Moment of Realisation, and his sense of Fate
  • The Grief of Hamlet and Laertes
  • Hamlet’s Desire for Revenge-Sc2
  • A Fencing-Match Arranged by the king-The King’s Strategy
  • Then Deaths of all the Principal Characters : Revenge at Last, But at a Heavy Cost
  • The Arrival of Fortinbras
critical analysis
Critical Analysis
  • Critical Analysis on the Following Topics:
  • The Use of Soliloquies in Hamlet: Analysis & Evaluation
  • The Problem of Delay In Hamlet. How Is It Linked With the Theme Of Revenge
  • The Characteristic Of Hamlet As a Tragic Hero:
  • Hamlet’s Tragic Flaw :‘Character is Destiny” How Far is this Applicable to Hamlet ?
  • The Development in the Character of Hamlet As a Tragic Hero in the end of the Play
  • Hamlet’s Madness: Real or Feigned?
  • Comic Elements In Hamlet: The Grave-Diggers’ Scene & Osric
  • The Presentations of Laertes , Horatiio, Claudius and Fortinbras as Foils to Hamlet.
  • Hamlet
  • Prince of Denmark
  • Horatio
  • Hamlet’s friend
  • The Ghost of Hamlet’s Father
  • Apparition of Hamlet’s
  • late father, King Hamlet
  • Claudius
  • Hamlet’s uncle, and the new
  • King of Denmark
  • Gertrude
  • Hamlet’s mother, and
  • Queen of Denmark
  • Laertes
  • Son of Polonius
  • Ophelia
  • Daughter of Polonius,
  • Hamlet’s girlfriend
  • Polonius
  • The Lord Chamberlain,
  • advisor to Claudius, and
  • father of Ophelia
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
  • Hamlet’s friends who
  • escort him to England
  • Fortinbras
  • Prince of Norway
  • The Prince of Denmark, the title character, and the protagonist. About thirty years old at the start of the play, Hamlet is the son of Queen Gertrude and the late King Hamlet, and the nephew of the present king, Claudius.
hamlet continued
Hamlet continued
  • Hamlet is melancholy, bitter, and cynical, full of hatred for his uncle's scheming and disgust for his mother's sexuality. A reflective and thoughtful young man who has studied at the University of Wittenberg, Hamlet is sometimes indecisive and hesitant, but at other times prone to rash and impulsive acts.
  • The King of Denmark, Hamlet's uncle, and the play's antagonist. The villain of the play, Claudius is a calculating, ambitious politician, driven by his lust for power, but he occasionally shows signs of guilt and human feeling—his love for Gertrude, for instance, seems sincere.
  • The Queen of Denmark, Hamlet's mother, recently married to Claudius. Gertrude loves Hamlet deeply, but she is a shallow, weak woman.
  • The Lord Chamberlain of Claudius's court, a pompous, conniving old man. Polonius is the father of Laertes and Ophelia.
  • Hamlet's close friend, who studied with the prince at the university in Wittenberg. Horatio is loyal and helpful to Hamlet throughout the play. After Hamlet's death, Horatio remains alive to tell Hamlet's story.
  • Polonius's daughter, a beautiful young woman with whom Hamlet has been in love. Ophelia is a sweet and innocent young girl, who obeys her father and her brother, Laertes.
ophelia continued
Ophelia continued
  • Dependent on men to tell her how to behave, she gives in to Polonius's schemes to spy on Hamlet. Even in her lapse into madness and death, she remains maidenly, singing songs about flowers and finally drowning in the river amid the flower garlands she had gathered.
  • Polonius's son and Ophelia's brother, a young man who spends much of the play in France. Passionate and quick to action, Laertes is clearly a foil for the reflective Hamlet.
  • The young Prince of Norway, whose father the king (also named Fortinbras) was killed by Hamlet's father (also named Hamlet). Now Fortinbras wishes to attack Denmark to avenge his father's honor, making him another foil for Prince Hamlet.
the ghost
The Ghost
  • The specter of Hamlet's recently deceased father. The ghost, who claims to have been murdered by Claudius, calls upon Hamlet to avenge him.
the ghost continued
The Ghost continued
  • It is not entirely certain whether the ghost is what it appears to be, or whether it is something else. Hamlet speculates that the ghost might be a devil sent to deceive him and tempt him into murder, and the question of what the ghost is or where it comes from is never definitively resolved.
renaissance version
Renaissance version
  • It’s about a man called on to exact revenge for the murder of his father.
  • Problems:
    • The murderer is a king.
    • The source of the information is a ghost.
    • The revenge must be honorable.
    • There are spies everywhere.
zeffirelli theory
Zeffirelli Theory
  • This is a play about a man who reminds one of Mel Gibson’s “mad max.”
  • Problem:
    • How can a man remain a hero in a world of random violence?
zeffirelli alterations
Zeffirelli alterations
  • Zeffirelli (Mel Gibson version) and Olivier leave out Fortinbras, reducing the political dimension of the play, and leave out the long speeches.
  • Branagh, whose version uses the complete text, adds scenes to maintain interest in the long speeches by the ambassador and the player (on Priam’s death)
how other characters view hamlet
How Other Characters View Hamlet
  • Polonius: Hamlet has gone mad from frustrated love.
  • Claudius: Either his father’s death upsets him, or Hamlet is cunning and stirs up trouble.
  • Laertes: Hamlet has insulted his family and deserves to die.
  • Horatio: Friend Ophelia: Model courtier/man
  • Fortinbras: Hamlet was a good soldier.
hamlet s doubts
Hamlet’s doubts
  • Why should his mother remarry such an unattractive man?
  • What does the appearance of his father’s ghost mean?
  • Why has he lost his mirth?
  • Did his uncle kill his father?
  • Why doesn’t he kill his uncle right away?
  • Why do women behave the way they do?
  • Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.
themes in hamlet
Themes in Hamlet
  • Revenge and Death
  • Disease and Corruption
  • Appearance vs. “Reality”
  • In the aftermath of his father's murder, Hamlet is obsessed with the idea of death, and over the course of the play he considers death from a great many perspectives.
aftermath of death
Aftermath of Death
  • Hamlet ponders both the spiritual aftermath of death, embodied in the ghost, and the physical remainders of the dead, such as by Yorick's skull and the decaying corpses in the cemetery. Throughout, the idea of death is closely tied to the themes of spirituality, truth, and uncertainty in that death may bring the answers to Hamlet's deepest questions, ending once and for all the problem of trying to determine truth in an ambiguous world.
  • Since death is both the cause and the consequence of revenge, it is intimately tied to the theme of revenge and justice—Claudius's murder of King Hamlet initiates Hamlet's quest for revenge, and Claudius's death is the end of that quest.
  • The question of his own death plagues Hamlet as well, as he repeatedly contemplates whether or not suicide is a morally legitimate action in an unbearably painful world. Hamlet's grief and misery is such that he frequently longs for death to end to his suffering, but he fears that if he commits suicide, he will be consigned to eternal suffering in hell because of the Christian religion's prohibition of suicide.
  • Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text's major themes.
decay of the human body
Decay of the Human Body
  • This latter idea is an important motif throughout the play, as Hamlet frequently makes comments referring to every human body's eventual decay, noting that Polonius will be eaten by worms, that even kings are eaten by worms, and that dust from the decayed body of Alexander the Great might be used to stop a hole in a beer barrel.
  • Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
yorick s skull
Yorick’s Skull
  • Hamlet is not a particularly symbolic play, at least in the sense that physical objects are rarely used to represent thematic ideas. One important exception is Yorick's skull, which Hamlet discovers in the graveyard in the first scene of Act V.
different aspects of death
Different Aspects of Death
  • As Hamlet speaks to and about the skull of the king's former jester, it becomes a symbol of several different aspects of death, including its inevitability and its disintegration of the body. Hamlet urges the skull to "get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come"—no one can avoid death. He also traces the skull's mouth and says, "Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft," indicating his fascination with the physical consequences of death.

A soliloquy is a dramatic device which allows a character to reveal his thoughts to the audience but not to the other characters in the play. In Shakespeare’s time soliloquies were widely used. When an actor was alone on the stage he could speak aloud his thoughts, thus giving the audience clear insights into his character and his intentions.

common elizabethan dramatic devices soliloquy aside
Common Elizabethan Dramatic DevicesSoliloquy & Aside
  • Soliloquy: A long speech given by a character when alone on stage, by which he utters his thoughts, motives and intentions aloud
  • Hamlet’s soliloquies are ones of the most famous, celebrated, and quoted lines in English drama

The soliloquy :Dramatic significance

  • A means of reading the inner working of the mind of a character
  • Used by a dramatist to communicate to the audience or the readers the secret thoughts of a character while at the same time preserving the secrecy of those thoughts from the other characters in the play
  • It throws some light on another character(s)
  • It may contribute to the development of the plot by acquainting us with what the speaker proposes to do.


  • Another related stage device is the aside in which a character expresses his thoughts in a short speech which is unheard by the other characters on the stage.
ii background information
II. Background Information
  • The soliloquy is used quite frequently in Hamlet. The Prince addresses the audience directly on six occasions
  • (lst: in Act I, Scene2, 129-59 when he is oppressed by the problems surrounding him, his father’s death and his mother’s fickleness; 2nd: in Act II, Scene2, 522-80 when he contrasts his failure to respond to his father’s murder with the actor’s expression of grief for imaginary characters;
ii background information1
II. Background Information
  • 6th: in Act IV, Scene 4, 32-66 he reveals his firm intention to take his vengeance at the earliest possible opportunity while at the same time he condemns his earlier inactivity. )
  • (cf. Monologue: more often than not, a poetical device, e.g. My Last Duchess by Robert Browning1812--1889).
ii background information2
II. Background Information
  • 3. Some of the Problems Troubling Hamlet:

(1) His father was murdered by his uncle who has become the king of Denmark;

(2) His mother was married to his uncle right after his father’s death;

oh that this too too sullied flesh would melt 1 2 129
Oh, that this too too sullied flesh would melt (1.2.129)
  • Upset by his mother’s remarriage to his nasty uncle, Hamlet contemplates suicide and sees the world as an “unweeded garden.”
what a piece of work is man how noble in reason how infinite in faculties 2 2 304
What a piece of work is man. How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties (2.2.304)
  • Hamlet tells R & G that he is melancholy (depressed), does not exercise, the world seems diseased, however noble seem the heavens.
  • “Man delights not me--no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so”
    • The audience is not privileged in this play, where soliloquies merge with speeches.
oh what a rogue and peasant slave am i 2 2 55
Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I! (2.2.55)

Hamlet berates himself for doing nothing, even when motivated by a ghost, in comparison to the player whose emotions run away with him due to nothing but a fiction.

So he plans the Mousetrap.

speak the speech i pray you as i pronounced it trippingly on the tongue 3 2 1
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it, trippingly on the tongue (3.2.1)
  • Hamlet instructs the actors
  • Relevant to theme of play (words, appearances, exposure of Claudius) but not to Hamlet’s state of mind (not a soliloquy)
tis now the very witching time of night 3 2 387
‘Tis now the very witching time of night (3.2.387)
  • Hamlet is in the mood for murder (having exposed Claudius’s guilt) when on the way to his mother.
how all occasions do inform against me 4 4 33
How all occasions do inform against me (4.4.33)
  • Just as he was moved by the player to berate himself, Hamlet is moved by Fortinbras to take action, even for nothing.
  • Yet he meditates on the difference between men and beasts (unsaid: sense of right and wrong, which makes the play so powerful)
To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dusty of Alexander (5.1.204)
  • Hamlet raises issue that too much thinking is bad for anyone.
  • Hamlet, like the play, strangely finds consolation in the grave-yard, not more melancholy.
There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ‘tis not to come . . . The readiness is all (5.2.217)
  • Beautiful, but ironic, since Hamlet seems very unready to face the king’s threat.
  • As philosophy, this sounds consoling but fatalistic. A dangerous combination.
  • Hamlet’s tragedy: he tries to accept the world, and it kills him.
use of words
Use of Words
  • The sinister uses of words are represented by images of ears and hearing, from Claudius's murder of the king by pouring poison into his ear to Hamlet's claim to Horatio that "I have words to speak in thine ear will make thee dumb". The poison poured in the king's ear by Claudius is used by the ghost to symbolize the corrosive effect of Claudius's dishonesty on the health of Denmark. Declaring that the story that he was killed by a snake is a lie, he says that "the whole ear of Denmark" is "Rankly abused….".
  • Full Title
  • The TragicallHistorie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke
  • Author
  • William Shakespeare
  • The Bottom Line
  • Hamlet, the prince of Denmark, wants to avenge his father’s death,
  • but his thoughtful, indecisive nature leads to tragedy.
  • Setting
  • Denmark, around the time it was written
  • Date Written
  • Around 1600 or 1601