Shakespeare sets his Hamlet play in the cold, dark isolation of Elsinor a bleak, snow-covered region of Denmark. It’s the royal court of the King of Denmark. The atmosphere is established on the cold, windy battlements of the castle. Most of the action takes place in the interior rooms and corridors of the castle and one scene is set in a nearby cemetery. Read more detail on the settings in Hamlet.

Date written: 1601

Genre classificationHamlet is regarded as one of Shakespeare’s tragedies.

Read Shakespeare’s original Hamlet text

Read Hamlet in simple, modern English

Main characters in Hamlet: Hamlet, the son of the recently murdered King is the heir to the throne. Hehas had the crown stolen from him by his father’s villainous brother, Claudius whom thelate king’s widow, Gertrude – Hamlet’s mother – has married. Hamlet’s father’s ghost tellshim on the battlements that Claudius murdered him. Hamlet is continuously spied on by Polonius, the garrulous Lord Chamberlain of Denmark. His eavesdropping results in his being accidentally killed by Hamlet. Ophelia is Polonius’ daughter. Led on to a possible relationship by Hamlet, then rejected, she commits suicide by drowning. Her brother, Laertesseeks revenge by plotting with Claudius to kill Hamlet.

Other characters are Hamlet’s friend, Horatio, in whom he confides, Rosencranz and Guidenstern, Hamlet’s fellow university students, who spy on Hamlet for Claudius, a troupe of strolling actors and a pair of gravediggers. See a full list of characters in Hamlet.

Hamlet Themes: The play falls into the genre of the Revenge Tragedy, which was very popular in the Jacobean era with its taste for violence and intrigue. Revenge is the most obvious, and one of the main, themes of the play. Although explorations of the idea of appearance and reality are present in all Shakespeare’s plays, it’s more fully developed in Hamlet, with all it’s plotting, intrigues, deceit and hypocrisy.

Other themes are the question of what a human being is; death and mortality and suicide. In common with several other Shakespeare plays, there is a clear Christian parallel.

Hamlet Play Resources:

Hamlet characters
Hamlet Settings
Modern English Hamlet ebook
Read Hamlet in modern English
Hamlet plot summary
Original Hamlet text

2 replies
  1. Robin
    Robin says:

    Your facts are wrong. I have not read Hamlet, so i don’t know what shakespeare have written in the play, but i can guarantee you, Elsinor does not lie in Jutland, but instead on the island Zealand. You write, “Shakespeare sets his Hamlet play in the cold, dark isolation of Elsinor in Jutland, ableak, snow-covered region of Denmark.” The Castle Kronborg where the play takes place, lies in Elsinor and that is on Zealand and not Jutland.

    Reply
    • devil14
      devil14 says:

      i have and it is how it was written in the renassinac when shakespeare was around they didnt have the resources we have now sooo they coundnt detrimian the right facts things were different back then

      Reply

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