William Shakespeare: Hamlet

(3901 words)

Why has this one tragedy become the archetypal Shakespeare play in modern times? Although Hamlet met with success when it was first performed, it was rarely regarded as Shakespeare's most note-worthy play in the late-sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and many readers found it deeply flawed: as Abraham Wright put it in the 1630s, Hamlet was “an indifferent play, the lines but mean”. The story of death and intrigue at the Danish court was not new – as with nearly all of Shakespeare's plays, Hamlet was adapted from other sources. The Norse folk tale of Amleth – recorded by the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus (c.1200), the French writer Belleforest in Histoires tragiques (1559-80), and in an anonymous play (…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Roberts, Sasha. "Hamlet". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=4833, accessed 28 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. English Renaissance Theatre - Elizabethan
  2. Revenge Tragedy