Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Hamlet, is arguably one of the most famous plays in the world. It has been translated into languages all over the world, and it has been turned into countless films.
However, while it is often said that everybody should read Hamlet in order to consider themselves educated and culturally literate like Hamlet act 2 summary and analysis, many people don’t know that there are several questions about this play which still cannot be answered.
1. What is the name of the play?
Nothing is known for certain about the play’s actual title aside from a few records that seem to suggest that it might have been titled “The True Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”.
It remains a mystery as to why this play was called Hamlet at all. Some scholars have proposed that it was actually named after King Hamlet’s famous uncle, who was also known as Hamlet. In any event, the term “Hamlet” has acquired a name all its own in literary history, and has therefore become an accepted colloquialism in what happens during Beckett’s lonely
first meeting with his namesake, who comes to him in disguise.
2. What year was the play written?
While it is generally accepted that the play was written in 1602-1603, there are questions about whether or not Shakespeare actually wrote the play.
Some people have suggested that the real author of Hamlet might be Edward De Vere, who was Lord Chamberlain of England at the time. Apparently, King James I was a huge fan of his work and frequently admitted him into his court. This may explain why De Vere would have been able to publish materials under Shakespeare’s name. The fact that he died before Hamlet was published has not proved this theory wrong up to now; however, no strong evidence has been found to back up this theory either.
3. What is Hamlet’s mother’s name?
It is generally accepted that she is called Gertrude, although there are some who say she is called Helena. Some people also believe that she was named Ophelia.
4. Where was the play written?
While it is generally believed that Shakespeare wrote his plays in Stratford-upon-Avon, it has been suggested by a few people that he might have actually written it at another location. It should be noted here that there are a few records of plays being produced at Blackfriars, and there are also rumors about plays being produced in private galleries with little or no audience present.
5. Who was the play written for?
In an era when plays were usually written and performed for the royalty and the wealthy, it is quite strange to find out that Hamlet was written primarily for a group of people known as “groundlings”. These were commoners who paid very little money to watch plays
The term “groundlings” may have been coined by Shakespeare himself. It has also been suggested that Shakespeare wrote his famous work with a small group of friends in mind. That would explain why he always refers to them by name throughout the play: Horatio, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, etc.
6. What was the theme of the play?
Hamlet is widely regarded as a revenge tragedy, although it may be noted here that the title character does not actually indulge in any act of killing. The fact that he doesn’t do it is what makes this play so famous and leaves his character open to interpretation by generations of playwrights and movie scriptwriters.
7. What happened at the end?
Because Hamlet dies before the final line is uttered, there has long been speculation about whether or not there was a change made to the script at some point by Shakespeare or by another author who might have edited/rewritten part of it.
Some people have argued that Hamlet actually died in the first act, and that he was brought back to life for the final scene by a group of actors who performed for him. Some people have even said that Shakespeare was murdered by his own Hamlet, who then committed suicide to make sure that his work as a playwright would not be interrupted or sullied by any allegations of foul play.
8. How many characters appear in the play?
There are 121 individual characters in Hamlet; however, it has long been noted that some characters are really just one person with multiple personas. These include Polonius and Ophelia, as well as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. There is also evidence to show that the guard Bernardo might have been another persona of Horatio’s.
9. Where did Hamlet go to university?
It has long been believed that Hamlet attended Cambridge University. However, there is also a possibility that he went to Oxford instead. If you look closely at the text, you will see that Shakespeare uses a specific vocabulary and turns of phrase only used by people who were familiar with this university town. The Bard also shows an intimate knowledge of its geography and architecture.
There are still things about Hamlet which remain a mystery to this day. These questions may never be answered, but you can let your curiosity run wild and try to answer at least a few of these yourself.