Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Hamlet: Plot Summary
Hamlet: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Hamlet: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of William Shakespeare
Historical Context of Hamlet
Other Books Related to Hamlet
- Full Title: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
- When Written: Between 1599 - 1601
- Where Written: England
- When Published: 1603 (First Quarto), 1604 (Second Quarto).
- Literary Period: The Renaissance (1500 - 1660)
- Genre: Tragic drama; Revenge tragedy
- Setting: Denmark during the late middle ages (circa 1200), though characters in the play occasionally reference things or events from the Elizabethan Age (circa 1500).
- Climax: The climax of Hamlet is a subject of debate. Some say it occurs when Hamlet kills Claudius, others when Hamlet hesitates to kill Claudius while Claudius is praying, others when Hamlet kills Polonius, and still others when Hamlet vows to focus on revenge at the end of Act 4.
Extra Credit for Hamlet
Shakespeare or Not? There are some who believe Shakespeare wasn't educated enough to write the plays attributed to him. The most common anti-Shakespeare theory is that Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, wrote the plays and used Shakespeare as a front man because aristocrats were not supposed to write plays. Yet the evidence supporting Shakespeare's authorship far outweighs any evidence against. So until further notice, Shakespeare is still the most influential writer in the English language.