Date • The story of Hamlet was written 700 years ago by Saxo Grammaticus, a Danish historian. • Shakespeare rewrote the history based on a French translation, and it was first performed in 1602.
Interpretations • This is Shakespeare’s most famous and most complex play. • There are infinite interpretations that can be made on almost any aspect of the play. • Main themes include: death, corruption, misogyny, evil, immortality, the nature of man, the search for self-identity, making moral choices – all are essential to an understanding of the play.
Hamlet • A study of the character Hamlet involves looking at his melancholy, indecision, fatalism, cynicism, disillusionment with humanity, the question of his sanity or insanity, and the avenging of his father’s death. • He is a scholar turned courtier; a mourner turned avenger; a lover turned lunatic.
Soliloquies • There are seven soliloquies that must be thoroughly understood because they are famous, and because they reflect so many of Hamlet’s character traits.