Shakespeare and Hamlet

introduction

About William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564, in England. He was an important member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men company of theatrical players since 1594. He had two older sisters, and three younger brothers. Scholars have surmised that William most likely attended the King's New School, in Stratford, which taught reading, writing and the classics. William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway when he was 18 on November 28, 1582 in Canterbury Province. They had one girl and one twins, but one of the twins died later with unknown reason. William Shakespeare was noted that he died on his birthday, April 23, 1616, though many scholars believe this is a myth.

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THREE FUN FACTS ABOUT SHAKESPEARE

  • Shakespeare died a rich man. He made several gifts to various people but left his property to his daughter, Susanna. The only mention of his wife in Shakespeare’s own will is: “I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture”. The “furniture” was the bedclothes for the bed.
  • One of Shakespeare’s relatives on his mother’s side, William Arden, was arrested for plotting against Queen Elizabeth I, imprisoned in the Tower of London and executed.
  • Besides writing numerous plays and sonnets, Shakespeare was also an actor who performed many of his own plays as well as those of other playwrights. During his life Shakespeare performed before Queen Elizabeth I and, later, before James I who was an enthusiastic patron of his work.

10 Curious Facts About Shakespeare

Introduce to Hamlet

Hamlet, the first in Shakespeare's series of great tragedies, was initially classified as a problem play when the term became fashionable in the nineteenth century. Like Shakespeare's other problem plays, Hamlet focuses on the complications arising from love, death, and betrayal, without offering the audience a decisive and positive resolution to these complications. This is due in part to the simple fact that for Hamlet, there can be no definitive answers to life's most daunting questions. Indeed, Hamlet's world is one of perpetual ambiguity.

Characters in Hamlet

1. Hamlet the ghost: King Hamlet, Hamlet’s father’s spirit. He was killed by Claudius and wanted Hamlet the prince to revenge for him.

2. Hamlet the prince: Main character Hamlet. The prince of Denmark, and a student at the University of Wittenberg.

3. Claudius: King Hamlet’s brother, the King of Denmark, Hamlet’s uncle. The person who killed King Hamlet.

4. Gertrude: Prince Hamlet’s mother, married with King Hamlet, and after he died she married with Claudius.

5. Ophelia: Polonius’s daughter

6. Horatio: Hamlet’s close friend. He studied with the prince at the University of Wittenberg.

7. Polonius: The Lord Chamberlain of Claudius’s court. The father of Ophelia and Laertes.

8. Laertes: Polonius’s son, Ophelia’s brother

9. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: Two slightly bumbling courtiers, former friends of Hamlet from Wittenberg. He was summoned by Claudius and Gertrude to discover the cause of Hamlet’s strange behavior.

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