Hamlet: Essay Topics
1) Conflict is essential to drama. Show that Hamlet presents both an outward and inward conflict.
2) How do Hamlet's seven soliloquies reveal his character?
3) Is Hamlet primarily a tragedy of revenge?
4) Discuss Hamlet's relationship with Gertrude.
5) How important is the general setting of Denmark to the overall play.
6) Of what significance is Ophelia to Hamlet? Was Hamlet truly in love with Ophelia?
7) The character Claudius has been compared to Macbeth. How similar are these two characters? In what ways are they similar?
8) Compare and contrast the characters of Hamlet and Horatio. How alike or dislike are they and why?
9) In Act 5, scene 2, Hamlet remarks, "His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy." Explain Hamlet's motivation behind this comment and examine how true is his remark.
10) Compare and contrast the characters of Hamlet and Fortinbras. Is Fortinbras a valuable character in his own right or does he serve only to highlight aspects of Hamlet's personality?
11) What is Goethe's opinion of Hamlet? Do you agree with his famous conclusions?
12) Discuss the references to the English stage of Shakespeare's own time in Act II.
Daily Life in Shakespeare's London
Life in Stratford (structures and guilds)
Life in Stratford (trades, laws, furniture, hygiene)
Stratford School Days: What Did Shakespeare Read?
Games in Shakespeare's England [A-L]
Games in Shakespeare's England [M-Z]
An Elizabethan Christmas
Clothing in Elizabethan England
Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare's Patron
King James I of England: Shakespeare's Patron
The Earl of Southampton: Shakespeare's Patron
Going to a Play in Elizabethan London