Facts On Hamlet Essay Research Paper Elements

Facts On Hamlet Essay, Research Paper

Elements of Literature



Title: Hamlet

Published: It was written in the late 1500s. It has been on national stages since 1589, and the earliest known publications date back to the years 1600 and 1601.

Author: William Shakespeare ( 1564 – 1616 )

Biographical Information: Biographical Information: All though much is not known about Shakespeare the man, there is numerous speculations about Shakespeare the playwright. He was the son of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. At the age of eighteen he married Anne Hathaway and had three children, Susanna, Hamlet, and Judith. William Shakespeare wrote thirty-seven plays and over one hundred and fifty poems which are renowned for their wisdom, knowledge of human nature, and genius

Genre: Classical Drama

Characteristics of a Genre: This is a dramatic tragedy, highlighting the fall of a great leader/character.

Setting: The date in which the play took place is unknown, however it is believed to have been during the later parts of the 1500s during Shakespeare’s life span. Although the exact date is unknown and to this day remains a mystery, the setting is revealed. The play underwent in Denmark and it’s neighboring states.


King Hamlet – The original king of Denmark who is Hamlet’s father, and the husband of Gertrude. He is betrayed and murdered by his jealous brother, and later appears throughout the play to guide his son Hamlet in the quest for revenge and answers. He was Hamlet’s father, and that was his relation to Hamlet.

Hamlet – Son of Queen Gertrude, and King Hamlet, and later King Claudius (Who is his uncle). He is the main character who undergoes the most drastic changes of them all, psychologically. In the beginning he questioned all, but by the end after his journey had been cleared up he acted upon instinct and want, ultimately succeeding.

Claudius – Jealous brother of King Hamlet, who acts upon his jealousy and dumps poison in the King (his brother’s) ear and takes his life so that he may become king. He is now the father of Hamlet and the husband of Queen Gertrude. His jealousy and all around evil causes him to lose his life in the finality. He was Hamlet’s uncle and new father, who was responsible for his real father’s death.

Gertrude – Hamlet’s mother, Wife of both King Hamlet and his brother King Claudius. She is a protective mother but a tarnished and blind soul. Hamlet’s mother, and this was her relation to Hamlet.

Polonius – Father of both Ophelia and Laertes. He is accidentally killed in the end by Hamlet, due to his nosiness. He is one of the King’s counselors and hated by Hamlet for this very reason and because of the similarities between him and the King. Father of the woman Hamlet loves, and he is killed by Hamlet, later in the play.

Horatio – Hamlet’s best friend, and the only true character in the play. He is the only one who does not portray what he is not. He is very calm and loyal. Hamlet’s best friend and the guy whom he (Hamlet) admires.

Laertes – Son of Polonius, who kills Hamlet in the end out of revenge for his father’s murder.

Ophelia – Hamlet’s girlfriend. She is the daughter of Polonius and sister of Laertes. She is broken hearted after taking some advise from her brother and shutting Hamlet away, and in the end becomes a reasons for Hamlet’s depression. Brother of the woman who he (Hamlet) loved, also the son of the man who Hamlet killed. He and Hamlet are alike in that they are to avenge their father’s deaths.

Fortinbras – Prince of Norway who becomes the King of Denmark in the end after everyone’s death. Like Laertes and Hamlet who are all out to avenge their father. They all have a purpose in honoring their father’s by getting revenge.


Act I – Scene i The two guards are out guarding the gates of the castle and they see the ghost,

who makes his first appearance.

Act I – Scene ii We go from outside the castle to inside it as King Claudius speaks to the entire

court and it’s guests of what has happened and what is to come.

Hamlet also makes his first appearance revealing his depression and hatred of life.

Hamlet is told about the ghost, which makes him all jittery inside, for he knows that his suspicions about foul play are correct.

Act I – Scene iii Ophelia is given advise by her brother about Hamlet, and the ways in which guys

in general act and what they are after.

Ophelia takes his advise and tells him to also follow his own advise.

Polonius, their father, enters and talks to Polonius about how it is that he should handle himself in France.

Act I – Scene iv Horatio and Marcellus go and guard the gate at midnight as they normally would

awaiting Hamlet’s arrival to wait around for the ghost.

Hamlet arrives and so too does the ghost. After signing Hamlet goes on and follows the ghost into the darkness.

Act I – Scene v Hamlet is finally spoken to by the ghost.

The ghost tells all, who he is, what happened to him, why it happened, and how it happened. (His father, he was murdered, out of his brother’s jealousy, and his brother had dropped poison in his ear and watched him die.)

Hamlet binds Horatio and Marcellus to never tell anyone of what they had been witnesses to.

Hamlet also plots out what he is going to do to get revenge.

Act II – Scene i Polonius is with Reynaldo and he is assigning him the task of going to France to

check on his son.

Reynaldo is to go and get Laertes some money, and then talk with the locals to strengthen his popularity with rumors.

During this meeting, Ophelia runs in looking all crazy, and tells her father of what hamlet had just done.

Hamlet had broken into Ophelia’s and spoke to her looking all crazy himself, which made her all crazy.

When Polonius is told of this, he believes – like in many other instances – that he knows the reason for what had happened. He was then to tell the King and Queen that the reason hamlet had been so crazed was because of a broken heart.

Act II – Scene ii Polonious goes and makes his report to the King and Queen.

The King arranges a meeting between Ophelia and Hamlet.

Through all this, Hamlet find out the truth about his so-called friends.

The actors arrive at the castle and Hamlet undergoes his plans of revenge, by directing parts of the play which was to be performed.

Act III – Scene i Everyone wants to know what s troubling Hamlet.

Hamlet has his “To be or not to be” speech.

It is decided that Hamlet will be sent to England.

Act III – Scene ii Hamlets speaks to the actors.

The play is acted out and Hamlet loves it, for it insults his mother and mocks the

King, and opens them to the realization that someone may know more than they think.

Act III – Scene iii Hamlet decides to kill his uncle, but it is a bad time, for he is praying, and his soul

might be saved.

Act III – Scene iv Polonius hides behind the curtain, and gets killed.

Hamlet stabs to curtain thinking the King was standing behind it.

Act IV – Scene i After Polonius’ death the King is worried that he may be held to blame for his

death, so he plans on covering it up so that he remains out of it.

Act IV – Scene ii Hamlet refuses to tell Rosencratz and Guildenstern about the whereabouts of

Polonius’ body.

Act IV – Scene iii Hamlet prepares for England.

Act IV – Scene iv Fortibras is on his way to Poland.

Hamlet is in the middle of his final preparations for England.

Act IV – Scene v Ophelia goes crazy.

Laertes finds out about his father’s death and is now angry.

When Laertes finds out about his sister he gets even more upset.

Act IV – Scene vi Horatio gets a letter from Hamlet.

Act IV – Scene vii Laertes and the King plan to kill Hamlet.

They are to use the fencing dual to kill, him and make it look like an accident.

The entire way is shown, the details (Sword, Poison, Gatorade)

Ophelia’s death is announced.

Act V – Scene i Hamlet and Horatio are walking along pass some graves.

They hear the gravediggers talking of the most recent death, Ophelia’s.

Hamlet is saddened and attends the funeral.

Then Hamlet has a fight with Laertes at the funeral in dispute over whose love for Ophelia was stronger.

Act V – Scene ii Hamlet returns from England.

Hamlet accepts the fencing dual.

Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, drinks form the poisoned wine.

Hamlet kills Laertes, but not before being wounded by the poison-tipped sword.

Laertes confesses of Claudius’ plans , and Hamlet stabs and kills Claudius.

At this point everyone is dead or dying, and before dying Hamlet does two things: Stops Horatio from drinking the poison, and appoints Fortinbras King of Denmark.

1st and Final scene: The connection between the first and final scene of the play is a question. It starts by leaving the audience with a gloom feeling and plotting many questions and it ends with the answers to the questions and a clear picture. For example, in the beginning the audience new or felt the there was “Something wrong in the state of Denmark.” by the end the audience is aware of what was wrong, how, and why.

Author Style: William Shakespeare writes using a number of allusions, and suspense.

Tone & Mood: Shakespeare writes with a mysterious attitude, leaving his audience in suspense at the end of every scene of every act. Questions arise throughout the play of who, when, where, how, and why. These questions run through the play making each line a cliffhanger which comes together in the end to answer every question the reader has.

Irony: Irony runs throughout entire play whether dramatic or minutely verbal. The portrayal or front which many of the characters put forward represents irony. The way in which the new King went about getting his position is ironic, because of all the betrayal, hate, and agony.

Symbols: Polonious symbolizes a tragic victim and a pimp. The ghost symbolizes a fallen hero, a corrupted , betrayed, and supernaturally tortured soul. The poison is a symbol of jealousy, vengeance, anger, and death. The constant acting which goes on represents the hidden identities and the faults or “wrong in the state of Denmark.”

Quotes: Acts Scenes Lines

V ii Hamlet’s “The readiness is all.”

V ii Hamlet’s “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends.”

III iv Hamlet’s “I must be cruel only to be kind.”

III ii Ophelia’s “‘Tis brief, my lord.”

III ii Hamlet’s “As woman’s love.”

III ii Hamlet’s “Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.”

III i Hamlet’s “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all.”

III i Hamlet’s “To be or not to be – that is the question.”

II ii Hamlet’s “The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the

conscience of the king.”

II ii Hamlet’s Soliloquy

II ii Hamlet’s “there is nothing either good or bad but thinking

makes it so. To me it is a prison.”

II ii Polonious’ “Since brevity is the soul of wit.”

II i Polonious’ “This is the very ecstasy of love.”

II i Polonious’ “Your bait of falsehood takes this crap of truth.”

I iv Marcellus’ “Something is wrong in the state of Denmark.”

I iii Polonious’ “This above all, to thine own self be true.”

I iii Polonious’ “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”

I ii Claudious’ “Frailty, thy name is woman.”

I ii Hamlet’s “A little more than kin, and less than kind!”

Theme: Many themes ran across the plays entirety with two which particularly opened this reader’s eyes and made him realize another perspective of the play. They included that of “The readiness is all,” which was about expecting the unexpected and being prepared to what may come. The other being the differences between illusions and reality, being that of characters pretending to be what they are not throughout the play and at times sharing a part of themselves which is the true side, but remembering to portray his/her set and fictitious image. Another theme shows that the flaws in all bring them failure.

Evaluation: I enjoyed the play after watching it performed by real actors in the big screen, because the way it was read in class did the play no justice. I enjoyed it and related in many occasions with several of the characters, but can say that I understood and enjoyed Merchant of Venice, more that this play.

Possible AP Question: When was the main character’s big moment? In other words, at what point was the character faced with a decision which ultimately affected the entire piece? Explain what the moment was, how it rose, and how it resulted.


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