“To be or not to be, that is the question”- when uttered this quote resounds with many individuals all around the world. It is the words of young prince Hamlet uttered at a time of utter despair as he questions whether or not to take his own life. Even though the play was produced hundreds of years ago it is still read and performed in schools, institutions and homes all across the world. One begins to wonder what is the magic or enticement of literature that some would call archaic and boring. However, before the beauty and art of the play can be truly understood we must first look at it from all angles and perspectives as well as take in the style of the author as well as other works of the times.
The tale of Shakespeare was written by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon in England. No one knows exactly what year but it was concluded that he died when he was 52. Shakespeare first produced his first plays in the year 1592 and he was fairly successful (Chambers). At the time, he performed his plays with a group of actors known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men ; however, as his plays became more popular he was rewarded by King James and given a royal patent after which his group was called the “Kings Men”(Chambers). In time Shakespeare built his own theater and continued to write until he retired three years before he died. Due to the time at which he lived, Shakespeare’s life experiences greatly affect the setting as well as hierarchies that are represented in Hamlet. The relationship between father and son as well as the health of the nation being attributed to the strength of the king as well as his lineage play key roles in Hamlet. One cannot overlook the effects that Shakespeare’s surroundings had on his plays.
During Shakespeare’s time, the literature consisted of comedies as they were later on acted by actors and to entertain various guests novel comedy was used. Shakespeare's early works were classical and Italianate comedies which contained tight double plots and precise comic sequences (Ackroyd). As time went on, however, Shakespeare begins writing what some would call dramas. He begins to implement prose in his works such as Henry IV and Richard II. Prose is the structuring of language so that it flows and has rhythm almost like a poem. He also begins utilizing the style of writing in iambic pentameter or writing in the stressed unstressed format. As time progressed, Shakespeare began to blossom as an author and ultimately this led to the amazing work of Hamlet.
Shakespeare works were surrounded by others yet it managed to hold its own. During the 1500’s, Europe was experiencing the cultural revolution known as the Renaissance. Advancements were being made in science, literature, religion and basically all areas of human life. The “Renaissance Man” as it was called looked at his world in a new view instead of looking at the world from a religious point of view as many did in such time periods humans began looking at the world in a secular view. They observed the world in which they lived through the eyes of a human and searched for beauty, realism and human emotion in art as well as in literature (Perry). The secular view directly contrasted with the religious point of view that had been most prevalent for hundreds of years. As we know some of the most revered authors of all time produced some of their best works during this time period (Wheeler). Thus, the works created in this time would be looked upon for many years due to the time period of the play. Nevertheless, it is the content of Hamlet that makes it truly inspiring and classical.
Hamlet is a play that takes place in the country of Denmark. It shows the trials and tribulations that the Son of a murdered King must go through to get revenge for his father who was murdered by his brother Claudius. It mainly focuses on the complications that may arise due to love and betrayal. Nevertheless, the story is not