Themes

In his famous tragedy “Hamlet”, William Shakespeare presents us with a feudalsociety that is already on its way to moral decay at the beginning of the play: Claudius kills his own brother in order to become king himself. On top of that, shortly after his murder of the Danish king, he marries his own sister-in-law, Gertrude.

The drama's unfortunate hero, Hamlet, the young prince of Denmark, is a sensitive man trying to shed light on his father's death. In doing so, he is torn between drive and hesitation. He falls into deep depressions. He not only questions his life and the meaning of his actions, but also the meaningfulness of human existence, which is reflected in his famous monologue on “to-be-or-not-to-be.” 

The diversity of themes in the drama exposes an equally wide range of interpretations. Therefore, our comprehensive interpretation of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" deals with no less than twelve themes. The motifs examined are power and corruption, appearance and reality, madness and melancholy, justice and revenge, Hamlet and the Oedipus complex, victim or perpetrator, the role of women, suicide and death, crime and love.

Each theme is explored very thoroughly and in depth. For example, the theme of "madness and melancholy" deals not only with Hamlet's shock, lethargy, melancholy, and faked mental disorder, but also with Ophelia's real madness. The role of women is examined through the two female characters Ophelia and Gertrude.

Death as a leitmotif describes the dying of all the characters in the play, with the exception of Horatio, who plays an important role after the end of the bloody drama: As Hamlet's friend, he is asked to report about Hamlet’s fate to future generations. Appearance and true being are in focus not only in relation to Hamlet and Claudius, but also to the members of the court. Our detailed interpretation offers suggestions for your own reflections and discussions and a solid basis for interpretation in English classes.

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of PrimeStudyGuides.com, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in