What is Hamlet about? It's not about revenge because Hamlet's vengeance is not triumphant.

What is Hamlet about? It's not about revenge because Hamlet's vengeance is not triumphant.

The best I can come up with is it's about putting the good of your country before yourself. Hamlet spends the entire story torturing his uncle and his mother, trying to avenge his father. But the story both starts and ends with Fortinbras, a foreign prince, conquering Denmark. He defeats Hamlet without ever fighting him, because Hamlet is engaged in a civil war. Hamlet lets Denmark fall through his selfishness.

Is there another interpretation I'm missing?

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  1. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    It's not about politics or nationalism, it's a character exploration of a man going through a severe manic depressive episode and acting on his delusions

    You try too hard to attribute sociopolitical interpretations to the stories he wrote when those elements are a backdrop. Its about exploring mental illness and an emotional human experience

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      but Hamlet is only pretending to be mad. It isn't Hamlet who sees his father's ghost, it's some random guards who see it first.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        >re-write it
        >make Hamlet sane
        >make everyone love him
        You now have childhood kino.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      This tbh. Are any of Shakespeare's plays really about anything more than the interpersonal?

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >a man going through a severe manic depressive episode
      >sociopolitical [...] elements are a backdrop
      >an emotional human experience
      Holy shit have a nice day. Most reddit, normie interpretation possible.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        >Nuhuh
        >U r cringe
        You don't read

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          “Emotions are…. Le cring!”
          have a nice day monkey

          That description reads like he did everything he could to NOT read Hamlet. Picture the world-renowned cliched image of Hamlet that everyone knows, now x that by 100 and you have that post. It shows absolutely no sign of having read the work, zero particularities or significance unique to Hamlet in that interpretation, if it can even be called such, and is, to boot, simply wrong. Most likely the extraordinary simplicity of the interpretation is only a cope for not understanding the work. So you have a moron, suffers from an inability to read Elizabethan vocabulary, and pretends it's not necessary, because this hypothetical necessity may interfere with his ego, and is adamantly opposed to any genuine, more intelligent, interpretation. The political background to Hamlet offers a vital context, without which its deeper meaning will easily be ignored; such as is regularly done for those silly interpretations which only see 'to be or not to be' and an 'inky cloak'. A vague philosophical statement about the human condition. But you go even further than that, you wish to ignore EVERYTHING in the play that doesn't fit into Hamlet being mentally unwell and deluded. I suppose the initial murder, the many private scenes with Claudius, the multiple individuals quite literally seeing the ghost, Hamlet's calm self-reflections, Ophelia's tragedy, etc.

          And yes, reducing sublime drama like Hamlet to homosexualy modern terms like 'mental health' and 'depressive episode' is cringe, and you should absolutely save the world from your stupidity, if in your long life you should never recant your own stupidity, via suicide. Because all you will contribute is intellectual pollutant. The emotion of great art is so far beyond what low, slavish individuals like yourselves experience in your prosaic lives, attempting to reduce the prior to the latter only shows how little you have ever understood.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            It's not a moral tale, as there isn't a 'point' which Shakespeare is trying to make like 'put the good of your country before yourself'. It's really just about Hamlet himself, who struggles against himself to take decisive action which will resolve the problems in Denmark.

            What do you think Hamlet is about?

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            You could easily interpret a moral point to Hamlet, but of course the drama cannot not be reduced to just a single point. One may not have the wish or ability to explain what Hamlet is about in a IQfy thread, but one can certainly point out the falsity of the most egregious interpretations. Such as yours right here, which ignores not just the enormous development in the soul of Hamlet, but the countless other elements of the drama. Why on earth does the play seemingly start and end with unrelated political references? Once you can actually put in the effort to follow every inch of the play, and think upon the unspeakable significance which confronts us everywhere in the play, then you will have the answer.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            I wouldn't say I've made much of an interpretation, I was saying that it's NOT about something as simple 'putting the good of your country before yourself', because it misses that Hamlet, and hit continual inability to take decisive action, is the crux of all of the major plot points. He doesn't act until he is forced to by circumstances outside his own control.

            If I had to give an answer to your question 'why does the play seemingly start and end with unrelated political references?' I'd say that these political references provide the framework within which Hamlet acts. That doesn't mean that they are meaningless, but they are the background for a reason. Shakespeare wasn't making a strong point about international politics, but they provide essential and important plot points for Hamlet's action/inaction to be meaningful.

            I asked you what you think Hamlet's about because it's unreasonable to tell people to kill themselves for their bad interpretation and not provide even the slightest of your own.

            By the way, I am

            It's not a moral tale, as there isn't a 'point' which Shakespeare is trying to make like 'put the good of your country before yourself'. It's really just about Hamlet himself, who struggles against himself to take decisive action which will resolve the problems in Denmark.

            What do you think Hamlet is about?

            . I am not anyone else who has replied in this thread.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            Strange you mention politics because every time I read it, I always feel like it’s operating within a framework outside of the reader or viewer’s perspective and I can never not see Hamlet as a play about proto-democracy. As you’ve said it’s an extremely interpretive play and to boil it down to a single point or theme cheapens it. I always come back to the dead king and what kind of leader he was, Young Fortinbras’ motive and goal, and Hamlet throwing his hat in the ring with YF at the end. I know my reading of it isn’t popular but I can never shake it

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        “Emotions are…. Le cring!”
        have a nice day monkey

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      All of Shakespeare's plays have a meaning deeper than "it's a character study." Character studies didn't exist in Shakespeare's time. Macbeth is about why kings can't solve all their problems with violence. Romeo and Juliet is about not giving into your wild passions.

      And if your interpretation is to be believed, that it's just about a crazy guy, then what purpose does Fortinbras serve in Hamlet? Why not omit him entirely from the story? He and Hamlet never speak a word to each other.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        >Romeo and Juliet is about not giving into your wild passions.

        People usually have a different interpretation of it in my country, but yours make more sense.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          well I think in my own country it's seen as "the most romantic love story ever" but my interpretation comes mostly from the Friar's speech of wild delights, like fire and powder, which as they kiss consume.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Then why'd he make Hamlet seem like even more of a homosexual by being shitty at war? If he wanted to make it about mental illness, let it be about average men and their neighborhood, not about kings and kingdoms. Hamlet doesn't even explore Hamlet's interactions with the kingdom at large, it might as well just have been about one family. Oedipus Rex makes its wider kingdom more relevant through representative advisors.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        He's not a homosexual, he just has long talks to himself about whether or not he should kill himself

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      It's about Hamlet's moral struggle that leads him into madness but not in the modern sense. He's confronting the existence of evil in the world. Claudius has betrayed his brother, Gertrude and Ophelia are unchaste. Hence, "What should such fellows as I do, crawling between heaven and earth? We are errant knaves all, go thy ways to a nunnery." Suddenly he sees corruption everywhere and he cannot stand it because he is too innocent as a "sweet prince" with a "noble heart."
      All My Sons has a similar theme imo, if you want to check it out. Chris Keller's rants about the impossibility of goodness remind me of Hamlet's.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        >Ophelia are unchaste
        No proof.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          Doesn't matter if it's true. The mere possibility shatters Hamlet. He accuses her of already having sinned by calling her "nymph" and telling her to a nunnery which is slang for a brothel. Simultaneously he's terrified that she could be unchaste in the future: "be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny." Either way he is questioning her virtue and the question where once there was certainty is damning.

  2. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >It's not about revenge because Hamlet's vengeance is not triumphant
    one does not follow from the other

  3. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Is there any consensus on who wrote Hamlet? Who was part of the King Lear group of writers?
    Using the Historical Critical Method, you can't really be a Stratfordian

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      It was several short people on top of each other in a trench coat.

  4. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    It's a story about essence and existence

  5. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    It's about shutting the frick up and do somthing

  6. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Hamlet has incredible thematic depth, so you can make it about a lot of things.

  7. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    It's about a lot of things. I think the heavy religious conflict between the very on the nose Protestant and Catholic beliefs isn't simply chance. The ghost of Hamlet's father is 100% something from Catholicism that Shakesphere had to pass off as being something closer to Seneca, while Hamlet's' refusal to kill Claudius as he prays because he'll go "straight to heaven" is obviously Protestant. Hamlet coming back from Wittenberg makes it even more obvious how heavy religion influences the play.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      What are some other Catholic elements in Shakespeare?

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        It's hard to point to outright, the censors were very heavy but there's enough to glue things together. The ghost is the big one. The quote:
        >There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy
        shows an attack on the rationalism that was very much at the forefront of Protestant thought and leans into the mysticism of Catholicism.
        Hamlet also mentions St. Patrick by name, he being tightly related to Purgatory, another Catholic belief.
        Gertrude is described as a virtuous Queen who has been corrupted by Claudius (who's actions point exclusively to Protestantism) so the tie in with Mary being "corrupted" and twisted by Protestantism compared to how she's seen in Catholicism is plain to be seen.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          I have considered Gertrude as symbol of the Catholic church itself as captured, would there be evidence supporting this (upon a wretch whose Natural Gifts were poor to those of mine)?

          Do you write anywhere else? How may I contact you?

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >I have considered Gertrude as symbol of the Catholic church itself as captured, would there be evidence supporting this
            Perhaps, I haven't read the play in about a year, so a lot of details escape me, but I do believe that she's overtly a description of Mary and I suppose it's only natural to tie Mary and the Catholic Church together.
            >Do you write anywhere else? How may I contact you?
            I do write essays, mostly for myself. Nothing fanciful, just for fun and not usually going beyond 3-6k words. I typically post in Shakesphere threads, though, and will always contribute to Hamlet threads. I'm thinking of using some nice new AI text to speech software to start making YouTube videos as well, which I will post here when I finally get it done.

            >Claudius (who's actions point exclusively to Protestantism)
            You're getting ridiculous. Have you ever thought that Hamlet says Claudius will go straight to Heaven because Hamlet, and everyone else in the play, as well as Shakespeare himself, inhabits a Protestant framework? A very high church Protestantism of course, but nonetheless Protestant.

            >Have you ever thought that Hamlet says Claudius will go straight to Heaven because Hamlet, and everyone else in the play, as well as Shakespeare himself, inhabits a Protestant framework
            That's the point? Hamlet was educated in Wittenberg, he's been educated in the style of the Renaissance prince, and he's battling between this education and the obviously very Catholic ghost of his father. Claudius is wholly Protestant and is the worst character in the play from a moral standpoint. His confession is so false, even he doesn't believe it. Had Hamlet followed his father and accepted a Catholic viewpoint he would have killed Claudius and the tragedy which would come would then be averted, instead the philosopher prince ponders and struggles with taking action and the events of the play unfold.
            I don't believe Shakesphere was a crypto Catholic or anything, but there is for sure a somewhat sympathetic view on Catholicism in Hamlet.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          >Claudius (who's actions point exclusively to Protestantism)
          You're getting ridiculous. Have you ever thought that Hamlet says Claudius will go straight to Heaven because Hamlet, and everyone else in the play, as well as Shakespeare himself, inhabits a Protestant framework? A very high church Protestantism of course, but nonetheless Protestant.

  8. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    It's an examination into depair, loss of hope, and dismay. Not exactly complicated. Great play and character nonetheless.

  9. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    What happens to a mf’er if he gets no pussy

  10. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >“In this sense the Dionysian man resembles Hamlet: both have once looked truly into the essence of things, they have gained knowledge, and nausea inhibits action; for their action could not change anything in the eternal nature of things; they feel it to be ridiculous or humiliating that they should be asked to set right a world that is out of joint. Knowledge kills action; action requires the veils of illusion: that is the doctrine of Hamlet, not that cheap wisdom of Jack the Dreamer who reflects too much and, as it were, from an excess of possibilities does not get around to action. Not reflection, no--true knowledge, an insight into the horrible truth, outweighs any motive for action, both in Hamlet and in the Dionysian man.

    --- N., BoT

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Projection. Hamlet is just an insecure man who is angry at himself that he can't be a strong warrior king like his father because he's an anxious intellectual

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        You are so obsessed with Hamlet that you fail to notice that other characters exist within the play and that he is not the only sinner, nor or is he the only one to witness the ghost. You are an obnoxious, narcissistic, intellectually impotent individual who has ironically projected his insecurities on to Hamlet in attempt to eliminate all complexity in the work

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Yeah never mind Hamlet's obvious heroism and strengths continually shown throughout the play. His continual failure to kill the king is not the failure of a weakling, but someone who has real ability to do the deed-- and eventually does it. The shame and perplexity wouldn't mean much if he was just some intellectual without a modicum of guts. And his manipulation of people completely goes against the idea that he's some anxious nerd.

  11. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    I didn't read Hamlet but I watched The Lion King which is partially based on Hamlet so I find myself to be quite the expert. The novel is about leaving people to live their life. Hakuna matatta you know? It's about not worrying and ultimately following your heart and defeating the big bad.

  12. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    bruh has poor reading comprehension. It's a story about the impact of our inevidibale death on the way that we live.

  13. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    The lesson is don't get pulled into family drama--just stay at college and do gay shit with your bros.

  14. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    It's about Re-wenge it's about Omerta

  15. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Fate, broadly. Hamlet knows what he has to do, and he wants to do it, but he feels forced by outside powers which raises a doubt in his mind whether he's doing the right thing by himself.
    The fact that he hesitates for even a millisecond makes him hate himself, and he spends most of the story agonizing over his cowardice for these feelings, while at the same time knowing the choice is inevitable, and the conflict makes him go crazy.

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