Written by William Shakespeare, and set in the crumbling state of Denmark, one would think upon Hamlet to be an exceptionally dark and depressing tale, and solely label it in that category. Well, they’d be right to do so, but entirely wrong to believe it just a depressing and dark tale of deceit and revenge.
The play, as previously stated, is set in Denmark and we are introduced into the characters’ lives as King Hamlet has died. The country is in a state of turmoil upon the anguish of his sudden and surprising death, whilst mourning the loss of the beloved King, the people are also preparing feasts to encompass the crowning of their new King – King Hamlet’s brother, Claudius.
‘Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral bak’d meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables’ – Hamlet
Predictably, Hamlet is intensely angry with his mother and Uncle, delving into a deep depression and believing that they are dishonouring his fathers memory. Hamlet later uncovers some truths and questions his beliefs, which eventually leads him to spiral into a deep ‘madness’, wherein he strives to uncover the mystery behind his fathers death whilst attempting to unravel the hidden plots smothering and clouding Denmark.
‘My words fly up, my thoughts remain below;
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.’ – Claudius
In Hamlet, Shakespeare explores the psychology of the human mind where he delves into the depths and reveals the true nature of a man’s most sacred, inner thoughts with no barriers. Of course, like many of Shakespeare’s plays, the themes of death, romance, revenge and tragedy are increasingly frequent. The play also revels in enlightenment, acceptance, truths, witticism and an overwhelming sense of righteousness.
However, what sets Hamlet apart, in my honest opinion, is the brutal honesty and the absolute emotion rolling off the characters in waves. Not only is it dramatic and intense, it is also profound in its effect and holds a lasting impression long after you’ve read it.