Hamlet Study Guide

Hamlet Study Guide

Original title:
The Tragicall Historie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Published August 1st 2005 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1600)
ISBN 0521618746 (ISBN13: 9780521618748)

“To be or not to be?” Who hasn’t used this iconic phrase at least once in their lifetime? Not many of us have actually read the whole book. Which is a pity – the language of the greatest poet on Earth, William Shakespeare, is a must to experience. He was greatly acknowledged as well as staged already during his lifetime and even managed to please two monarchs of the British Empire. It’s never too late to let Shakespeare mastery conquer your heart.

“Hamlet” is a story of the prince of Denmark who is living through the pain of loosing a father. He is further overwhelmed by the fact that it was his uncle who caused this terrible loss. What’s even more damaging to his soul is the craving for revenge that is brewing inside his head.

The poem is soaked with uncertainty that not even the reader can resolve: is Hamlet’s mother as guilty as her new husband? Is there a love relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia or is it all a fake? Did the girl kill herself or did she have help? Was it the same person who killed the king? And then there’s the ghost – is it just a paranormal phenomenon meant to escalate the dreary entourage of the poem or is it a reflection of Hamlet’s inner personality?

The lack of answers to those questions demonstrates that there’s a limit to human understanding. We can’t even understand our own feelings, let alone control them. No mater how thoughtful and argumentative the protagonist seems, after finishing the novel the reader still can’t get over the feeling that maybe what happened wasn’t right after all.

Dive into the poem to find yourself torn between the morals and common sense, the truth and farfetched reality. Even the ownership of Shakespeare’s works is questioned. No matter who compiled this great text – it is definitely a must read for all of us.

New Essays

Comic Identities in Hamlet

This student owes a great deal of intellectual debt to Louise Cowans thanks in great part to the theoretical criticism the author expressed in her introduction to The Comic Terrain. An example of the brilliance of her critical theory is found in an extended quotation from the work’s introduction...

Cinderella vs. Hamlet

Introduction Every emotion and feeling of human beings is captured by literary works such as stories, novels and poems. The characters, plot and themes in the stories and novels bring forth the varied emotions experienced by human beings. Two such stories which focus on the feelings and emotions...


The first soliloquy of Hamlet occurs (act I, scene ii, lines 129-59) after the King and the Queen have urged Hamlet in the open court to cast off the deep melancholy which, as they think, has taken possession of him as a consequence of his father’s death. In this soliloquy, Hamlet reveals the...

Broken Rites in Hamlet

Introduction In order to understand the role of the rites in Hamlet, one must conceptualize the ritual. The rites in Hamlet concern mainly marriage, mourning and funeral. It is crucial to distinguish their specific nature to detect how they participate in the tragedy. Arnold van Gennep identified...

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