The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
The mood of Hamlet is set by its opening exchange: ‘Who’s there?’ ‘Nay, answer me.’ The play creates the illusion of asking as many questions of its audience and interpreters as we may ask of it. Sahkespeare won’t tell us who he is or where he stands.instead, he makes us –and our culture – reveal ourselves. That is the source of his endurance and one of the reasons why Hamlet has long been regarded as his greatest, or at least his most characteristic play.
Old Hmlet, King of Denmark, is dead and has been succeeded by his brother. The new king has also married Gertrude, the widowed queen. Hamlet, Gertrude’s son, is already distressed by his father’s death and the hasty remarriage; when his father’s ghost appears to tell him that he was murdered by his own brother, Hamlet vows revenge.