Theme: Hamlet is one of the most celebrated tragedies
filled with several different themes and is
full of varying imagery.
C. Appearance vs. reality
D. Ambition and power
E. Disease and poison
"To Be or Not To Be.'
Hamlet is one of Shakespeare's most celebrated tragedies. Written in 1602 during the English civil war, it was first believed a lost tragedy by an unknown English author, found in a collection of stories. It was first written as poetry. The actual Castle Elsinore was not built until after the play was written. The text indicates the time and place through dialogue. The play focuses on the central conflict of "to be or not to be." In Act II, Hamlet says to Gertrude, "A bloody deed, dear mother as bad as kill a king and marry his brother."
Contrary to popular belief, the real tragedy of the play is not Hamlet's himself, but that of Polonius's family, whose deaths were not a result of their own sin, but are manipulated by Hamlet and Claudius.
The themes present in this play are concentrated in two major issues: the murder of Hamlet's father and the marriage of Gertrude to Hamlet's uncle. The themes of deception, revenge, ambition, politics and power, disease and poison will be discussed in the order given.
The first is deception. Claudius essentially deceives all of Elsinore. He pretends to care for Gertrude, her son, and his deceased brother, but he really marries Gertrude to acquire the throne. He presents himself to others with the people's best interest at heart. Hamlet uses a little deception of his own when he aims his revenge plot (another theme) at Claudius. He employs a...