Please list and explain the main themes of Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Shakespeare's Hamlet contains numerous themes.  The play treats the issue of good vs. evil and the nature of evil.  Regicide contributes to this theme.  The justness of tyrannicide, Claudius's short-term guilt, the far-reaching effects of an evil act all contribute to this idea.

Death, of course, is everywhere in Hamlet.  Corpse-eating worms, skulls, suicide, death by sword, death by execution, death by poisoning all appear. 

Connected to death is rottenness, literal and figurative.  Rotten bodies are described, and something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

The theme of seeming, the difference between appearance and reality, is also present.  Is the ghost a ghost or a deceiving demon?  Hamlet seems sad over his father's death, says Gertrude, and Hamlet retorts that he doesn't seem sad, he is. 

Melancholy and madness, revenge, chance and happenstance, of course, are also some of the themes present in Hamlet.


lola21 | Student

Thank you.

mkcapen1 | Student

Hamlet has a variety of themes:

The first theme that comes to mind is the theme of Appearance or Reality.  Hamlet is visited by his father's ghost who tells him to avenge his death.  In order to do this the reader sees Hamlet as mad.  It then falls to the reader to determine if Hamlet is mad or pretending to be mad.

The next theme is the theme of family responsibility.  Hamlet is obsessed with the decision he has to make as to whether or not he should kill his uncle and avenge his father's death.  In addition, he has his mother to think of and how he feels about her.

Death is also a reoccurring theme in Hamlet.  First his father is killed, Ophelia's father dies, Ophelia kills herself, and in the end Hamlet is dead.

puran | Student

The main theme in the play Hamlet can be illustrated in various ways among them "The ambivalant characteristic of any person on the post ultimately handed the oppertunity to others" In the play though Prince Hamlet get chance to take revenge with his uncle Claudious but he is unable to take revenge.There are many believable consiquences and psychological evidences that the real criminal  is his uncle related with mother Gretrude.Frist he was not well informed that his fathers real cause of the death,the hasty marriage of his mother with his uncle is another suspectable cause in the same way Prince Hamlet is not respected as prince in the palace he is behaved as a margin person.Prince hamlet gets conspiracy with his uncle to be killed and at last the facial expression in the middle of the drama with the cancilation of watching drama on the running time proves that the real causse of the King Hamlet is claudious.

Hence, by getting all the prove Prince Hamlet cannt show the couragious nature as king's son in the palace and he cannt stand in favour of justice ,If he becomes success to keep Claudious inder the foot of justice either by killing or by giving punishment as crininial before the  citizens the play may have good ending but the dellima ultimately spoil whole state and handovered it in others hand.The characteristics of ambivalance in taking any decision ultimately spoils onself and the follors or coming generation,as Hamlet His whole Royal family and the citizen of related country.