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Hamlet, William Shakespeare

Probably Shakespeare's best-known work, Hamlet is based upon historical events from twelfth century Denmark. The play opens with young Hamlet deeply troubled by his father's recent death and his mother's subsequent remarriage. The ghostly visit of Hamlet's father reveals the truth: Hamlet's father was murdered by his own brother, who has since married Hamlet's mother. With its themes of revenge, madness, and appearance versus reality, Hamlet remains as moving and thought-provoking as ever.

Related Readings

"The Management of Grief"—short story by Bharati Mukherjee

"Of Revenge"—essay by Francis Bacon

"The Embassy of Death: An Essay on Hamlet"—literary criticism by George Wilson Knight

from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead—excerpt from the play by Tom Stoppard

"The Elizabethan Approach"—informative nonfiction by Martin Holmes

"To Be or Not to Be"—parody by H.R.H. Charles, Prince of Wales

"The Character of Hamlet's Mother"—literary criticism by Carolyn Heilbrun

Study Guide (PDF)


McGraw-Hill / Glencoe