'Reading and Thinking.com' content is reader-supported. "As an Amazon Associate, When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission." Learn more.

About - Muhiuddin Alam

About - Muhiuddin Alam

Hello, I am Muhiuddin Alam founder of ReadingAndThinking.com.
Read Popular Fiction, Novels, Nonfiction & Storybooks Recommendations, and Reviews All In One Place.
I designed easy navigation on this site to enhance your reading experience and try to give you all the information related to the books in simple language.
I try to recommend books by author and subject. I hope this site is useful & helpful to you. Thanks for being here.
Learn more.

My Publishing

Why is "Hamlet" Shakespeare's masterpiece?

Explore why "Hamlet" is considered Shakespeare's masterpiece and a tragedy of humanism. Discover how Hamlet embodies the ideals and values of humanism

On this page...

"Hamlet" is the longest of all William Shakespeare's plays, and it is also the most famous play and tragic significance. 

The complex characters and rich and perfect tragic artistic techniques represent the highest achievement of the entire Western Renaissance literature. 

Together with "Macbeth", "King Lear" and "Othello", they form Shakespeare's "four tragedies". "Hamlet" is known as one of the four great masterpieces in Europe. 

Since its inception, it has been adapted many times into stage plays, operas, film and television, and other works. 

The reason why "Hamlet" became the first of Shakespeare's four tragedies is not only because of the tragic ending of the work but also because the work brings people a heavy reflection on Hamlet's fate.

As an outstanding language master, Shakespeare paid great attention to the tempering of language in the creation of his works. 

The language of "Hamlet" is rich and vivid, and the metaphors are appropriate and full of philosophy. 

For example, "a violet presented by youth blooms early, withers quickly, sweet, but not long-lasting, a burst of floral fragrance for a moment of enjoyment, that's all." 

Another notable artistic feature of "Hamlet" is the richness and vividness of its plots.

The classic fragment of "Hamlet" 

To be or not to be, this is a question worth considering; to suffer in silence the tyrannical poisonous arrows of fate, or to stand up against the endless sufferings of the world, and to sweep them away through struggle, these two acts, Which is nobler? 

To be dead, to sleep; to be lost; and if in this sleep the wounds of our hearts, and the countless other blows which flesh and blood cannot avoid, might be extinguished, that is It is the ending we wish for. 

Dead; asleep; asleep perhaps dreaming; well, here lies the hindrance: for what shall we dream in that sleep of death, when we've shed this rotten sack, That cannot but give us pause and apprehension. 

It is for this reason that men are willing to live long in adversity; who will bear the whips and scorns of the world, the insults of oppressors, the contempt of proud men, the pangs of despised love, the delays of laws, the insolence and expense of officials The contempt of the villain for which he has worked so hard if he can liquidate his own life with a small knife? 

Who would bear such a burden, moaning and sweating under the weight of a weary life, if It is not that the dread of something after death- The undiscovered country, from whose bourn No traveler returns- puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have 

Than fly to others that we know not of Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pith and moment With this regard their currents turn awry 

And lose sight of. meaning of action. Wait! Fair Ophelia! In your prayers, do not forget to confess my sins to me.

Related TopicsMasterpieces


Why is "Hamlet" Shakespeare's masterpiece?

The tragedy "Hamlet" was written in 1610, and it describes the story of the ancient Danish prince Hamlet avenging his father. 

The end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century were the period of the European Renaissance. 

The Renaissance movement made bourgeois democratic thought more advanced than the feudal autocratic thought deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. 

At that time, the political struggle in Britain was very sharp due to the issue of "succession to the throne". People's progressive thinking and The decaying status quo of society are in stark contrast. 

The tragedy "Hamlet" hints at the reality of British society through the political struggles of ancient Denmark under such a large social background. 

In the end, the author achieves his goal of revenge with an extremely tragic ending—the death of the main protagonist Hamlet. 

This work not only reflects the political reality of British society but more importantly, through the image of Hamt, contradicts the humanism of the advanced elements at that time. 

For this reason, "Hamlet" has become a literary treasure with "everlasting charm". At the same time, it also represents Shakespeare's highest dramatic achievement, and it has established its status as a representative work.

The tragedy of the humanists? Why Hamlet Can Be a Typical Representative of Humanism

The Renaissance took place in Europe from the eleventh century to the middle of the sixteenth century. With the prosperity of cities and the continuous improvement of people's living standards, people's ideas gradually changed. The Renaissance affected the historical and cultural process of Europe and also brought new ideas to the future scientific revolution. and laid the foundations for a revolution in art.

The Renaissance is a new cultural movement that promotes bourgeois culture and opposes feudal ideology and culture. "Hamlet" is one of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies during the European Renaissance. "Hamlet" embodies the spirit of Shakespeare's "humanism" and attracts readers The continuous exploration and thinking of humanism has great practical and literary significance to the ideological liberation movement of the Renaissance.

1. The Historical Creation Background of "Hamlet"

Shakespeare was a famous literary writer during the European Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries. His Hamlet, also known as The Prince's Revenge, was one of Shakespeare's four major tragedies. Hamlet was created when feudalism gradually The period of weakening and the rise of the bourgeoisie is also a period of historical and cultural confluence and a turning point in Europe. At that time, the social order in Europe was chaotic, the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the royal power intensified, and the entire social environment was turbulent.

Against this social background, the contradiction between Shakespeare's humanistic thought and reality continued to intensify. "Hamlet" is Shakespeare's creative principle based on realism, and reflects the dark social phenomenon in Europe at that time in the form of drama. , There are fierce conflicts between good and evil, beauty and ugliness in "Hamlet", which also reflects the contradictions and conflicts of the European social environment from the side. The tragedy of Hamlet is a tragedy of society and a tragedy of the era of humanists.

1. With the help of the Renaissance wave

The Renaissance started in Italy. Humanists opposed the hypocritical "theocracy" of feudal superstition and began to pursue the new cultural thought of secular life, free will, and equal human rights. The core of the "Renaissance" is the spirit of "humanism", "humanism" Based on the concept of “centered, not God-centered”, the storyline of “Hamlet” is based on the European social background at that time, with the Danish prince Hamlet as the main line.

It exposed the social environment of the feudal aristocracy represented by the royal family at that time, which was corrupt, profligate, and oppressed by the bourgeoisie and the people. The environment triggered people's thinking about the Renaissance and laid the ideological and cultural foundation for the development of capitalism.

2. The connection between humanism and "Hamlet"

"Humanism" is a set of theoretical systems in the European Renaissance, emphasizing the value of human beings, emphasizing human dignity, advocating freedom, equality, and justice, advocating "all people-oriented", advocating rationality, and opposing ignorance. It is a symbol of human civilization. An important idea of progress, Prince Hamlet created by Shakespeare is the embodiment of freedom and equality, and the epitome of the European era.

It tells the story of a Danish prince who avenged his father. Hamlet was born into a royal family, but he received a humanism education at the University of Wittenberg in Germany. He received many new ideas that are completely different from the traditional church. Linguistically embodied.

On the one hand, Hamlet is good at observation, good at thinking, and emphasizing analysis, and has the basic qualities of a humanist thinker. From the turmoil of the Danish royal family to the unbearable turmoil of the entire era, he raised personal revenge to the height of social reform. Hamlet once issued a cry "Who can save this chaotic world except me who is unlucky alone", which also reflects Hamlet's humanistic values ​​that want to transform society.

On the other hand, as a humanist, Hamlet looked at the problem too rationally. Hamlet weighed the pros and cons, hesitated, and procrastinated in revenge many times, which made him miss many opportunities for revenge. Claudius was brought to justice, he could have prevented the tragedy of Ophelia, although Hamlet was full of thoughts of revenge.

But he did not abuse violence. Although he felt confused and hesitant about life, he was full of confidence. He grew up through constant blows and tempering. Finally, he was able to decisively stab Claudius with a poisoned arrow. It is a pity that one's own life is at the expense of Shakespeare's integration of the spirit of "humanism" into the storyline, which deepens the tragic color of the storyline, and at the same time endows the dramatic tragedy with the realistic significance of the times.

2. "Hamlet" is a typical representative of humanism

Shakespeare once said: "There are a thousand Hamlets in the eyes of a thousand people." Everyone has different experiences, and received different educations, and their corresponding social experiences are also different, forming different worldviews and cognitive structures. The tragic story of "Hamlet" is not only influenced by the social environment but also caused by Hamlet's own character.

1. The spirit of humanism in the Renaissance

The European Renaissance was a movement of ideological progress and liberation at that time. It was advocated by a group of humanists and thinkers such as writers, scientists, educators, and politicians at that time. Contains the thought of "humanism" and "humanitarianism", emphasizing "people" as the center, advocating "human rights", and respecting the value of people, and "people" is the measure of all things.

The ideology of "humanism" is a trend of thought promoted by the emerging bourgeoisie in Europe and Italy under the background of European society. Capitalism uses "human rights" to oppose "theocracy" "church" and "feudalism". Ignorance, hypocrisy, and corruption, especially in the differences and contradictions between "church" and "non-church", "humanities" and "theology" in education, language, culture, and philosophy.

People are paying more and more attention to the secular life brought about by realism, coupled with thinkers' humanistic thoughts, the yearning for free will and equal personality is becoming stronger and stronger, and the emerging bourgeoisie is becoming more and more powerful both politically and economically. From then on, the wave of humanist ideology slowly spread from Italy to every corner of Europe.

2. To be or not to be

To be or not to be, that is, the relationship between "life" and "death", so how to understand the phrase " to be or not to be, this is a question worth considering"? Should we continue to endure the ruthless destruction of fate, or should we resist oppression without hesitation? "Destruction" can get rid of the pain of the body and the trauma of the soul, but there are people in this world who are willing to endure contempt and oppression. "Hamlet," wrote: "To be or not to be? This is a question, which is better?" noble."

The process of struggle is painful, and doing nothing is also painful. After Hamlet knew that his uncle Claudius was the murderer of his father, he pretended to be stupid and endured and finally decided to stand up and fight back. This all shows the contradiction between Hamlet. Thought is also a necessary stage for Hamlet to gradually grow.

Hamlet should have inherited the throne in his carefree and beautiful years, but after being hit hard by his father's mysterious death and his mother Gertrude's remarriage to the new king's uncle Claudius, he was killed by his uncle Claudius. With a huge blow from his father's murderer, he felt doubts, humiliation, resentment, despair, and coldness in the whole world, and he had neither the courage nor the ability to fight back against his uncle Claudius.

So after knowing the truth, I made a complaint and chose to endure it and wait for an opportunity to retaliate. In the work "Hamlet", it can be seen that Shakespeare's Hamlet is a smart, thoughtful, and responsible person, but hesitant. Personality caused the tragedy of his life. Although he has strong humanistic thought, wants to destroy the old and establish the new, and wants to reform society, his character is doomed to die with evil, which also reflects the weakness of humanistic thought.

3. Status of women's human rights

"Frailty! Your name is a woman, and a beast must be sad longer!" This is the classic line that Hamlet shouted. When he learned that his mother, Gertrude, had just passed away, he wanted to The roar that he uttered when he married his uncle, the new king Claudius.

From ancient times to the European Middle Ages, women's status in society has not been high until stimulated by the "human rights" thought in the "Declaration of Human Rights" in the Renaissance, women's human rights have also been paid more and more attention. Shakespeare's Shaping of Women's human rights They are roughly divided into several categories, among which are "indifferent mothers" and "hysterical teenage girls".

For example, Ophelia, Hamlet's lover, is ignorant of the world, naturally beautiful, simple, and kind, but affected by the social environment at that time, Ophelia's thinking is conservative, fragile, and has no opinions, and finally ends in tragedy. Another example is Hamlet's mother, Queen Gertrude, she dares to pursue what she wants and is not bound by the world.

But she is also a victim, a victim dominated by patriarchy, living a difficult life in a turbulent society. The tragedy of Gertrude's life reflects the social background's neglect of women's human rights at that time, women's status in society, and human nature. Ugliness at court.

The Renaissance was a movement of ideological emancipation, which had an important impact on Europe and the whole world. Humanism thought was a kind of value exploration of thinkers on social thought. The play "Hamlet" described the feudal society at that time in a simple and specific way. The tragic ending of the plot also shows the author's helplessness and desolation under the background of European society and also reveals the darkness and chaos of feudal society.

The characterization of "Hamlet" is also extremely diverse. People's conservative thinking, cowardice, and indecision emotions vividly express the characteristics of "humanism" in language, and also reflect the ideological spirit of humanism for the European people. The necessity and urgency of baptism, avoiding the recurrence of such tragedies as Shakespeare's play "Hamlet" in life.

Discover literary treasures at ReadingAndThinking.com – your ultimate destination for insightful book recommendations and reviews!

Please Share These Resources with Colleagues, Friends, and Family.

Hello, I created this blog that aims to enhance readers' lives and provide some helpful articles and content. Thanks for the reader's presence and invite you to follow me on Linkedin.