Sample Literature Review Paper on Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Hamlet Shakespeare's first series of excellent essays are among his successful, exciting,
and best plays. The play illustrates factors transpiring death, power, love, family, and deception
without offering the audience a solution to these problems. The play through the various
characters such as Hamlet, who is the prince, Claudius who is the cousin to Hamlet and also the
present King of Elsinore in Denmark; Queen Gertrude, who is the wife to the king, Horatio who
is Hamlets best friend and advisor and other characters gives many themes such as the theme of
death, revenge, corruption, religion, politics, and love. William Shakespeare uses symbolism
such as flowers, fencing swords, graveyard, and many more to represent thematic ideas in the
play. The play also gives the audience diverse imagery at different parts to describe phenomena.
The play addresses different themes. The theme of revenge; is the central theme in the
play. At the start of the play, the ghost of the king of Denmark appears to his son Hamlet and
urges him to seek revenge from Claudius since he is the one responsible for his death. When
Claudius learns about the plan, he also intends to kill Hamlet to seek vengeance. In the process
of revenge, many lives are destroyed and some of them being innocent. Laertes, in his mission of
revenge, dies at the sword-fighting game. Both Claudius and Hamlet die too. Revenge is a

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constant theme in the plot, which the writer uses to create conflicts. The theme of corruption;
Shakespeare shows how corruption has taken over Elsinore, which is linked to power. Claudius
murders his brother to secure the position of leadership, and after he does, he abuses his position
by ordering the death of his cousin and plans a war that led to his death, his wife, Laertes, and
Hamlet. The writer uses the theme of love in the play, which affects the situations of characters
and how they view each other. This drives the characters to vengeance; this is seen when
Claudius feels sorry for the death of his brother, which is ironic and also his love for Gertrude.
On the other hand, Hamlet denies his affection for Ophelia to protect her, but later in the play, he
confesses his love for her. The above illustrations show how the writer used different themes to
convey messages to the audience.
William Shakespeare in Hamlet introduces the audience to the play by giving characters
and their roles. The late king is seen as a vengeful man and a person who likes conflicts since he
orders his son to kill his cousin to avenge his death and be the king. On the other hand, Hamlet is
viewed as a vengeful man, brave and courageous, loving, cynical, and a fighter; Horatio terms
him as a great soldier. Claudius, the king, is greedy, misuses power, is caring, hypocritical, and
vengeful. Polonius is a councillor to Claudius and a father to Ophelia and Laertes; he is a
determined older man, meddler, and phoney. Horatio is seen as loyal and supportive. Gertrude,
who is the Queen, is portrayed as lustful and obscene. Laertes and Ophelia are siblings, and these
characters die seeking revenge for their father. These are some of the characters that the writer
used to convey his themes in the play.
The writer of the play uses imagery to develop ideas that grow out of the audience's
thoughts. William Shakespeare uses imagery to express Hamlet's suicidal thoughts, anger, and
bitterness because he feels that his mother was betrayed (Shakespeare, 1703). The writer used

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this aspect of style to emphasize the theme of betrayal. The imagery of decay is portrayed to
make the audience understand the depression and the mental disturbance that Hamlet felt. He
uses this to express how life was depressing, and he wished to die so that his flesh would rot.
This could make the audience see how much the emotions of Hamlet were dead and decayed;
faded. Shakespeare also uses the imagery of death to show how evil deeds, corruption, and greed
spread in Denmark. The malicious act of spy existed in Denmark not only in the present reign
but also in the past; it started when the two friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were sent to
spy on Hamlet (Shakespeare, 1999). The writer also used the imagery of poison to describe the
bitterness that existed among the characters. The image of poison describes the cynicism and the
relationship that existed among the characters. This imagery makes the audience understand
deeply the emotions experienced in the play.
Shakespear used another literary style of symbolism. Symbolism is a literary style that
uses figurative images and hidden ideas to represent emotions and states of mind. The writer uses
various symbols in the play. This includes; Ghost. At the beginning of the play, there is an
appearance of a ghost which is the ghost of the king of Denmark, which symbolizes the coming
tough times. The difficult times that were coming ahead were for Hamlet and Claudius. It also
indicates a bad omen to the state of Denmark. Another symbol used in the play is the skull. The
skull implies death, decay, and the unusefulness of the body. And this makes Hamlet picture his
life after death and his destiny which gave him the picture of a skull. Shakespeare uses flowers as
a symbol in the play. The audience observes this when Ophelia starts to distribute flowers to any
person she meets on the way after she develops mental health. She states the meaning and
description of each flower to express her emotions and the pain she felt. The writer uses fencing
swords which symbolized violence, conflicts, and death. It is also a sign of bravery and courage;

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Hamlet and Laertes fought in the wire, each having a different reason for the fight. They both die
by the sword. The above symbols and many others provided the play with entertaining space and
also suspense.
In summary, Shakespeare wrote this play to give the audience an image of the current
society, full of corruption, misuse of power, love, greed, conflicts, and vengeance. It also
provides the audience with the wrath of these decayed character traits when portrayed in society.

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Work Cited

Shakespeare, William. The tragicall historie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Vol. 1. N. Trübner
and Company, 1869.
https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=o3JNAAAAcAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=haml
et+william+shakespeare&ots=VQpXTV03ve&sig=ZYjuubxFgFgsWPYKuD7bt9IubY4
Shakespeare, William. The tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Wellington, 1703.
https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=91RRAAAAcAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=haml
et+william+shakespeare&ots=HjJBn-n_6O&sig=eNu86QdCOgDuieDalPCXyy5t85M
Shakespeare, William. The first quarto of Hamlet. Cambridge University Press, 1999.
https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=gry-
j5ISvVoC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=hamlet+william+shakespeare&ots=M9ySTgy2s2&sig=VUn8