Setting of Time and Place

Setting is divided into two categories: time and place. Let us take each in turn. First, most scholars agree that Hamlet is set in the later middle ages (at some point in either the fourteenth century or the fifteenth century). One must also realize that the play Hamlet is meant to be seen on the stage, and the directors of a particular production may choose to change the setting of time to any era they choose. Therefore, the only setting that can be discussed here is the one which Shakespeare reveals through the text. Second, Shakespeare's Hamlet is set in the country of Denmark. (You may be familiar with the famous quotation, often used as an allusion to the play, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.") We can be even more specific with the aspect of setting by saying that the play is set in a royal castle in the Danish city of Elsinore.