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Literary Devices in Hamlet
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Hamlet's constant brooding about death and humanity comes to a head (grotesque pun intended) in the infamous graveyard scene, where Hamlet holds up the unearthed skull of Yorick, a court jester Ham...
The story of Hamlet is set in the late middle ages (14th and 15th centuries, or 1300 to 1499) in and around (mostly) the royal palace in Elsinore, a city in Denmark.Sixteenth-Century VibeThe story...
Sure, "tragedy" is right there in the title. But Hamlet isn't just any tragedy—it's a classic revenge tragedy. Revenge tragedies were all the rage in England during the late 16th and early 17th c...
Aside from the oh-so-hilarious gallows humor of the gravediggers and a few other really-not-so-funny moments, Hamlet is a dark play full of uncertainty and suspicion. From the very first line, "Who...
Hamlet, like Shakespeare's other plays, is written in a combination of verse (poetry) and prose (how we talk every day). But, as Polonius would say, there's method in the madness. VerseIn Hamlet—...
What's Up With the Title?
It's a tragedy. About a guy named Hamlet. Who's the prince of Denmark. Straightforward? Pretty much. The one thing we want to point out is that this title neatly ties together the personal (Hamlet)...
What's Up With the Ending?
Hamlet is a revenge tragedy, which means we're in for a killing spree. (Bloodthirsty? You can read more about this in "Genre.") At the end, almost every character with a name has been offed in one...
It's Shakespeare, so it's tough. We get that. But it's not impossible. For one, it's about the most famous play in the whole world—at least the English-speaking part of the world. Also, unlike a...
I'm My Own GrandpaOnly a month after the old King of Denmark dies, his queen remarries —to his own brother. Hamlet is not happy to have his uncle as his new step-father. On the political front, y...
Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis
Wait, what?Yep: Christopher Booker's specially cites Hamlet as counterexample to his theory of basic plots. According to Booker, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark doesn't actually fit into t...
So you know how most people think of Hamlet as a skinny blonde Scandinavian? When Gertrude describes Hamlet as "fat and scant of breath" (5.2.269) during his duel with Laertes, some scholars interp...
There's a whole lot of sex in this play, but it's not particularly sexy. Here's how Hamlet explains to his mom why she should stop sleeping with her new husband (who is also her brother-in-law): "N...
Virgil, the AeneidNero (III.i.394)Sir James Hales (V.i.16-20)
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