Sources

Saxo Grammaticus

It is almost impossible to give a complete list of the sources Shakespeare used in "Hamlet", because there is still no agreement among scholars as to which sources he used.

The story of "Hamlet" goes back to a Danish legend, which the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus wrote down as early as the beginning of the 13th century in a chronicle written in Latin and entitled "Amlethus, Prince of Denmark".

Although Shakespeare will later add several dimensions and details to the plot, the medieval legend already contains the basic framework of Shakespeare's drama: it, too, is about killing a brother and a king. The Danish king Horwendil is murdered by his brother Fengon. Shortly after the king's death, Fengon marries the widowed queen and obtains the title of king by fraud. The young prince Amlethus wants to revenge his father's death. In order to put his plans into action, he pretends to ...

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