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 Publication date: Between 1599 and 1601

 Genre: Tragedy, Drama

 Author: William Shakespeare

 Сharacters: Hamlet, Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia, Polonius, The Ghost, Laertes, Horatio

 Based on: The exact origins of the story are unclear, but researchers have found similar elements in Ancient Greek and Elizabethan dramas, the story of Amleth, or the Ancient Roman Lucius Junius Brutus.

 Symbols: Hamlet's clothing, Ophelia's flowers, Yorick's skull, etc. 

 Influence: Plenty of Indo-European stories and legends incorporated a plot of the main character pretending to be mad to seek revenge. The works that potentially influenced the playwright include "Life of Amleth", Saga of Hrolf Kraki, and an earlier lost play Ur-Hamlet.

 Plot: The play depicts Hamlet's attempts to kill Claudius, who killed Hamlet's late father, king of Denmark, and married his widow. Hamlet pretends to go crazy and kills Polonius, whose daughter Ophelia later kills herself. During the story's culmination, Hamlet fights Laertes (Polonius' son), who wounds him with a poisoned sword. In the final scene, Hamlet, Laertes, Gertrude, and Claudius die, leaving only Horatio to tell Hamlet's story to the invading king Fortinbras.

 Interesting facts:

 The first rendition of Hamlet occurred in July 1602 in The Globe Theater.

 Hamlet's running time is over four hours, making it Shakespeare's longest play.

 A young male actor played Ophelia initially, as women could not act on stage.

 The first film adaptation of Hamlet is dated 1900, and it was just a 5-minute depiction of the sword fight scene.

 Many popular actors played Hamlet, including David Tennant, Benedict Cumberbatch, Oscar Isaac, Michael Sheen, and Tom Hiddleston.


 "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

 "To be, or not to be: that is the question."

 "Doubt thou the stars are fire / Doubt that the sun doth move / Doubt truth to be a liar / But never doubt I love."

 "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

 "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

 "Though this be madness, yet there is method in't."

 "My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go." 

 Why this topic is important: Hamlet is one of the most quotable works of English literature, the subject of dozens of retellings and interpretations. It influenced writers for hundreds of years and remains relevant even 500 years later. 

You'd be hard-pressed to find a high school or college student who has never written an essay about Hamlet or another of Shakespeare's plays. As the longest of Bard's creations, Hamlet is also the most cited and the most often adapted in film and theater. So don't be surprised if another Hamlet essay appears on your class syllabus.

With so much to unpack and analyze about the tragedy of the Dutch royal family, writing an essay on Hamlet can be challenging, especially if you've never read the book or seen the play. Luckily, you don't have to start from scratch, as the SpeedyPaper collection holds dozens of free essay samples on hundreds of writers and their works. Hamlet deserves the place of honor as one of the most sought-after categories.

Fair warning: most examples in our collection are student submissions, so mistakes and typos are possible. So please be attentive and avoid transferring them to your work.

We also urge you never to submit a sample essay on Hamlet under your name. Even a cursory plagiarism check will reveal its origin and cause you a world of trouble. Instead, if you're in a hurry, try to paraphrase the sample and go beyond replacing every other word with a synonym.

So what good are Hamlet essay examples to you?

For one, you can use the titles to devise an exciting Hamlet essay topic that's more exciting than the same stale ideas recycled over the last 500 years. Besides, almost every free essay on Hamlet comes with a reference list you could use to find credible secondary sources to support your analysis of the play. Finally, there's a lot to be gained from reading others' works. We suggest you pay attention to the underlying structure when outlining your piece. But you can also keep an eye out for good quotes, clever word choice, and transitions to help readers follow your narrative. If you combine the best elements of a few Hamlet essay samples, your chances of scoring a high grade will double.

With so many avenues available to you, where should you start?

If your assignment prompt includes a topic, find a suitable sample and dissect it to borrow the best pieces for your essay. But if you need to develop a topic as a part of your assignment, start by skimming the sample titles or skip to the next section and find inspiration there.

Inspiring Hamlet Essay Topics

In case our essay database does not produce a suitable idea for your assignment, check out our list of hand-picked essay topics for Hamlet:

  1. Different representations of masculinity in "Hamlet"
  2. Analysis of Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship
  3. The symbolism of death in "Hamlet"
  4. What are the roles of female characters in "Hamlet"?
  5. The significance of the portrayal of royalty in "Hamlet"
  6. The effect of religion and spirituality on different characters in "Hamlet" and their actions
  7. The influence of humor on the reader's understanding of "Hamlet"
  8. Ancient and medieval literature's influences in "Hamlet"
  9. The reflection of Elizabethan beliefs in the deception of the afterlife in "Hamlet"
  10. The symbolism of flowers relative to different characters of "Hamlet"
  11. Comparative analysis of power and authority in "Hamlet" and modern-day politics
  12. The impact of the supernatural on the tone and atmosphere of "Hamlet"
  13. Analyze the theme of betrayal and its significance in relationships between different "Hamlet" characters
  14. The depiction of madness in "Hamlet" and its reflection on the Elizabethan-era understanding of mental health
  15. The importance of the final scene of "Hamlet"

Feel free to use these Hamlet essay ideas or alter and twist them to suit your assignment's requirements.

When Hamlet Essay Examples Can't Help

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