Why is Hamlet considered to be Shakespeare's greatest work?Why is Hamlet considered to be Shakespeare's greatest work?
The question is suspect, (many believe King Lear to be his best work), but Hamlet combines the four major qualities admired in Shakespeare: depth of character, universal theme, rich language, and dramatic structure. All the characters in Hamlet are multi-dimensional, even the minor ones like Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern. All exhibit internal dramatic contradictions and depths, complex psychological insights into the human condition, and subtle voices in their speeches; the themes in Hamlet – living actions vs. suicide, for example, or fealty to a king vs. the need for revenge of a familial wrong, or any of a dozen other themes explored—are both thought-worthy and effectively balanced against each other; the metaphors and poetic structures—from the electric exchanges of dialogue to the soliloquys that are still quotable 500 years later—are of the very highest quality; the rising and falling action of the plot works perfectly in performance, as do the speeches themselves. Hamlet has set the standard for all drama.
I think you would get some argument for this. However, if you are to start from this standpoint I would suggest that the play is one of his more approachable texts, because it seems to strike a chord with us. We can empathize with Hamlet and feel his pain.