Hamlet before Its Time: Modern Language Quarterly

Hamlet before Its Time: Modern Language Quarterly
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    Jul 06, 2019
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Hamlet was a play written by William Shakespeare in the 16th Century and it presented a tragedy that befalls the throne of King Hamlet, who was murdered by his brother Claudius. Claudius later became the king and inherited King Hamlet’s wife; however, the ghost of King Hamlet emerges before Prince Hamlet and informs him of what happened and why he needs to revenge the death of his father. In essence, this play has been analyzed by a number of scholars and most such as Grazia (485) assert that Hamlet has not yet been fulfilled. This assertion emanates from the idea that Hamlet represents a modern picture of what happens when individuals want to be in power and when others want to revenge in order to attain justice. In other words, in the modern society people will be willing to kill in order to be in power, while others will be willing to kill in order to attain their revenge in order to be satisfied that they have attained justice. In this regard, this paper presents a number of peer-reviewed articles that expound n ways the Hamlet displays the idea of power and revenge for justice.

The article by Body (425) asserts that Hamlet is a response to the modern legal community because it has helped in the evaluation of sophisticated intersections of literature and law. The article evaluates how Prince Hamlet plans to conduct its revenge on his uncle Claudius based on what his father’s ghost told him. The analysis of this revenge plan is interpreted using the ethical and legal stipulations applied in contemporary society.

The article by Eren and Zeynep (27) uses Hamlet as the base play to elaborate on the political governance of Britain. The idea is that Hamlet was a play that expounded on the political situation during Shakespeare’s time where the King’s brother resolved to kill the king so that he would become the king and inherited his brother’s wife. Unfortunately, the king’s son is determined to avenge the death of his father by killing his uncle, who is the king at the moment. The article thus uses the knowledge from this play to conduct its investigations among the diverse ethnic minorities living in the London Borough.

The article by Bootle (78) uses Shakespeare’s Hamlet to explain aestheticized politics and how it demonstrates the tyranny of authority. This is based on the tyranny of Claudius who murdered his brother King Hamlet so that he would become the king and on the other hand, the desire of Prince Hamlet to avenge the death of his father. In essence, Prince Hamlet does not show any desire to rule or to become the king, but rather he is only interested in avenging his father’s murderer, who is also his uncle and his mother’s husband. The tyranny of regimes is used to demonstrate the weakness of human senses, which direct his undertakings whether in politics or other activities.

The article by Anthony (219) argues that although most fictional accounts do not represent reality and their meaning is determined through intuition, the situation differs when the fictional accounts are attained as is the case with Hamlet. The idea is that the Hamlet accounts have been attained based on the activities that individuals in power do in order to attain what they desire. Regardless of the danger and the experiences that he was exposed to, Prince Hamlet did not give up his desire to avenge the death of his father. The article argues that the Hamlet presents a real-world occurrence, because people in power will do the same thing as Claudius in order to gain power, and others will act as Prince Hamlet.

The article by Naveen (90) presents a similar account as that of Hamlet among the people known as Kalidasa. The author asserts that the characters in the play represent the interactions and actions that people in the real society do, and most especially the major characters, who in most cases are in positions of power. In other words, characters in positions of power take advantage of the minor characters, a situation that helps drive the story.

Maria (269) presents an article that discusses the ordeal of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The prime focus on this article is given on Prince Hamlet, who is forced to undergo difficult situations, including being banished from Demark with an assertion that he is mad. However, he does not give up his desire to avenge the death of his father. The article demonstrates the need to have proof before conducting an execution; although King Hamlet ghost told Prince Hamlet how his father was killed, Prince Hamlet conducted his own investigation and gathered proof that Claudius had murdered his father.

Tabassum (327) article presents how idealism and fate the control of an individual’s life and help them attain their desire. Prince Hamlet was excluded from the throne of his father because he was considered a threat by Claudius, who had killed the King. Prince Hamlet is torn between two painful but crucial factors, which means he must act decisively; one of the actions is to save his throne and the other is to avenge the death of his father. The article demonstrates the actions that people in power must undertake in order to attain their desires.
The article by Karen (177) demonstrates the translation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and how it has influenced modern society. The themes that the article discusses and which relate to Hamlet are politics, religion, and sex. The hatred amid Claudius and Prince Hamlet has been emphasized to demonstrate the political theme and the actions people in power take in order to attain their desires.


In conclusion, the paper sought to demonstrate how Shakespeare’s Hamlet is used to demonstrate the theme of politics and revenge in order to attain justice in society. Although Hamlet was written hundreds of years ago, it remains relevant in modern society as it demonstrates the tyranny of regimes and the actions people in power are willing to take in order to achieve what they desire.

Work Cited
Anthony, Everett. Talking about Hamlet. Journal of Literary Theory (18625290), 8.2 (2014): 219-233.
Bootle, Attie, K. Tragic Proportions: the Art of Tyranny and the Politics of the Soul in Hamlet. English Literary Renaissance, 44.1 (2014): 78-107.
Boyd, Richard. “The play’s the thing/Wherein I’ll catch the conscience”: The Legal Community Reads Hamlet.” Law, culture and the humanities 5.3 (2009): 425-451.
Eren, Tatari. A Network Analysis of Minority Representation in the British Local Government: Tower Hamlets Council (2002-2010). European Journal of Economic & Political Studies, 6.2 (2013): 27-56.
Grazia, Margreta. When did Hamlet become Modern? Textual Practice, 17.3 (2003): 485-503.
Karen, Sullivan. Censoring Metaphors in Translation: Shakespeare’s Hamlet under Franco. Cognitive Linguistics, 25.2 (2014): 177-202.
Maria, Mendes. Hamlet’s Ordeals. Law& Humanities, 8.2 (2014): 269-289.
Naveen, Mehta K. A study on Minor Characters in Kalidasa’s Abhijnansakuntalam and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Journal of Academic Emergency Medicine Case Reports, 5.1 (2014): 90-96.
Tabassum. Javed. Perfect Idealism in Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet. Dialogue (1819-6462), 8.3 (2013): 327-333.