Hamlet Literary Analysis

Subject: Literature
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 819
Topics: Book, Hamlet, William Shakespeare


The classic Shakespearean tragedy “Hamlet” arouses constant interest due to its design and extraordinary sophistication of the composer’s masterpiece. Profound considerations about life and death consistently capture the readers’ imagination and encourage everyone to engage in their own reflections. One can associate oneself with the issues highlighted in the play for every generation. Shakespeare’s creation continues to be attractive to this day because it reflects human nature with all its flaws and a leading character who cares about the destiny of mankind.

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Hamlet’s confrontation with a corrupt world

Hamlet is confronted with the flaws in the world that cause him much suffering. To begin with, his mother turns out to be unfaithful and quickly marries her husband’s murderer. In addition, Ophelia reveals all her feelings for Hamlet, but is unable to genuinely feel him. In Hamlet’s view, she is a controlled marionette of her father Claudius. Osric, a minor character who shows up in only one scene with a hat that he takes off and on to satisfy Hamlet, is also the embodiment of the lifestyle that is present at Claudius’ court. Furthermore, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who are Hamlet’s companions, are ready to commit treachery. Therefore, the leading character of the play is presented with a picture of a corrupt world, which he considers as an “unweeded garden” (Shakespeare 1.1. 7). Consequently, the author selected Denmark as the symbol of all the falsity and immorality of the society.

The tragedy of Hamlet and his reflections on existence

Hamlet is a sensitive man, so he is profoundly affected by the murder that took place in the royal family. However, the protagonist realizes that such an outrage remains unanswered because of the ignorance and tacit acceptance of the public. In his monologue “to be or not to be” Hamlet speaks about other problems of mankind: “The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely, the pangs of disprized love, the law’s delay, the insolence of office.” (Shakespeare 3.1. 16-18). For all these reasons, the prince chooses to resist the world and thirst for revenge. To achieve this, he could fulfill the request of his father’s ghost — to kill Claudius and return to the throne. Nevertheless, Hamlet is a philosopher and humanist who cares about the general welfare and possesses a sense of duty to defend all the downtrodden. He is conscious of his role: “The time is out of joint. O cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right” (Shakespeare 1.5. 7-8). The drama of Hamlet lies in the fact that he links up the medieval worldview — the idea of patrimonial revenge, and the humanistic consciousness elements brought about by the new Renaissance, where the importance of human life is placed on the forefront.

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Philosophy about human nature in Hamlet

Shakespeare highlights a considerable number of issues in the plot, such as the relationship between children and parents, faithfulness and treachery. In addition, the key in Shakespeare’s work are such philosophical problems as the quest for the meaning of life and the purpose of man, the right to kill. The crucial element of the tragedy is the skull, which embodies death. All that remains after the royal jester is ashes, which can no longer be identified as Yorick. The remains are a symbol of a previous bodily life, but Hamlet rejects to accept that there is nothing of the soul in man. It is over here that he begins to propose to himself the question: “To be or not to be?” (Shakespeare 3.1. 1). The protagonist cannot adopt a unanimous position, but more significantly, he ponders it. All the things related to human psychology have not changed over the centuries, because people are provoked by the similar emotions — affection, egoism or rage — by their essence.


Summing up all the above, “Hamlet” is a controversial tragedy that can be seen as a psychological, social, political and historical play, as well as a private drama of each of Shakespeare’s characters. It appears that the dramatist composed the play in order to draw attention to various facets of human nature. It is impossible not to be impressed by Shakespeare’s capacity to observe some everlasting and fundamental challenges of mankind. Likewise, it is apparent that the issues that were important for the 17th and 18th centuries have not been addressed, as people keep coming back to this dramatist with their problems.

The protagonist’s tendency to recognize the concrete image of the world makes Hamlet a tragic figure. Moreover, his awareness of his personality and understanding of the situations in which he finds himself placed in a position to challenge this world. He is more relatable to ordinary people than all the other characters, both in power and in vulnerability. When the reader sees that the hero is solitary in front of a corrupt world, he wants to sympathize. The reader can more clearly identify with him mentally, because in Hamlet the reader or viewer can see themselves to some degree.

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