Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Please explain the element of mystery in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

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There is littl mystery, in Hamlet's mind, as to who killed his father. He becomes convinced, partly because of the hasty marriage between Gertrude and Claudius, that Claudius is the culprit. It would be correct to say that Claudius behaves mysteriously inasmuch as he is hiding the fact that he killed the king and is secretly trying to get rid of Hamlet because he feels Hamlet is a threat. 

From the perspective of all the other characters, it is Hamlet who behaves mysteriously. In their eyes, he goes from brooding and insular to manic and unpredictable. His actions alienate Ophelia, frighten Claudius, anger Laertes, and worry his mother. The mystery, for the reader/audience is not necessarily why Hamlet is acting this way because we know that Hamlet is "acting" in these ways because he doesn't want to compromise his plan for revenge. In fact, the mystery (for the reader/audience) is just how and when (finally) Hamlet will get his revenge. Hamlet is often called a revenge play but it might just as...

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