What is the significance of the setting in Hamlet? Why does it take place where it does?

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The themes of spying and deception in Hamlet are helped along significantly by the setting.  In general, the castle provides great opportunity for much eavesdropping.  A closer look at specific scenes highlights even further Shakespeare's use of setting to achieve these themes.

A scene demonstrates the significance of...

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The themes of spying and deception in Hamlet are helped along significantly by the setting.  In general, the castle provides great opportunity for much eavesdropping.  A closer look at specific scenes highlights even further Shakespeare's use of setting to achieve these themes.

A scene demonstrates the significance of setting is the gravedigger's scene.  What better place for Hamlet to espouse his existential ideas on the meaning (or lack thereof) of life than in a graveyard surrounded by bones of the dead?

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The why of the setting comes from the text Shakespeare used as raw material for his play, which was a historical account of Denmark written by Saxo Grammaticus in which Saxo wrote down the oral tradition of Amleth, the tragic Danish prince. That's where the story came from, and viewers might have been familiar with the story as with other stories Shakespeare adapted.

Now, as far as the significance, that's different. Look at the smaller setting: the castle, enclosed, a tight world where everyone's around one another and always on display. Hamlet grew up there, and knows it well, yet he finds it subverted and changed through his uncle's action. The familiar and known setting is completely transformed, making this a truly weird place for him.

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