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Free MonkeyNotes-Hamlet by William Shakespeare-Free Book Notes Summary
Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes

THEMES

The major theme of the novel is revenge. Several of the characters are entrusted with the duty of restoring family honor by exacting vengeance. Young Fortinbras reclaims his father's lost honor by gaining territory. Hamlet must avenge his father's murder by killing Claudius. And Laertes must avenge his father and his sister by exacting revenge upon Hamlet.

A second major theme is appearance vs. reality. The play makes several references to how things appear versus the truth. Hamlet speaks in riddles, feigned madness gives birth to real insanity, and even actors appear to confuse the truth. King Hamlet's death, an event that precedes the beginning of the play, appears to be snakebite but in reality is calculated murder. The new King of Denmark seems to be the proper and rightful heir to the throne, but he is really a power-hungry murderer. The theme of appearance vs. reality is a favorite of Shakespeare's, but in Hamlet, the theme is more well developed than in most of his plays.


MOOD

An atmosphere of evil darkness pervades the play right from the beginning, for "something is rotten in the state of Denmark." Hamlet feels that he is living in a world of deceit and corruption where no one can be trusted. For that matter, reality is not even certain. The imagery of disease, corruption, and decay contributes to the mood of darkness and evil. The aura of tragedy is present from the beginning to the end of the play; the only slight respite in the dark mood comes in the Gravediggers' scene, but even the comedy of this scene is morbid.


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Free MonkeyNotes-Hamlet by William Shakespeare-Free Online Plot Synopsis



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