It can be argued that William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the most significant play ever written and performed. It is much more than just a play about revenge as it deals with universal philosophical questions. Life and death, love and betrayal, friends, and woes are all explored through the mind of the protagonist, Hamlet. In this article, you will see a plethora of Hamlet essay prompts to focus on. Besides, you will find some good Hamlet essay ideas with examples to inspire your writing.
Hamlet Essay Topics
- Elaborate on the relationship between Gertrude and King Hamlet.
In this Hamlet essay, you can analyze what the reader knows about their marriage. What was Gertrude’s reaction to her husband’s death? Did she see the Ghost in the scene with Hamlet? Could she have pretended that she didn’t? Discuss how we can explore the status of women in Elizabethan times through Gertrude’s behavior.
- The question of genre in Hamlet.
In his timeless Hamlet, Shakespeare does not follow the rules of a tragic play or a revenge tragedy. So, it makes it quite hard to say what genre is Hamlet. However, in your essay, you can focus on explaining how Hamlet is a tragic hero. Explain what makes Hamlet a unique tragedy.
- A theme of madness in Hamlet.
This theme is by far the most prevalent in the entire play. Moreover, it overlaps with other topics in Hamlet, such as death, deception, love, and betrayal. Students can analyze both the nature of Hamlet’s forced insanity and Ophelia’s madness.
- An analysis of Shakespeare’s writing style in Hamlet.
In this Hamlet essay, students can analyze the language and literary devices that Shakespeare used. What does Hamlet’s way of speaking tell about him? Why are some lines written in prose, while others in verse? Analyzing these topics can help you to get started.
- A motif of incest in Hamlet.
Throughout the play, there are plenty of sexual references and allusions in Hamlet. Critics found an incestuous desire between Claudius and Gertrude, Gertrude and Hamlet. Even Laertes’ attitude towards Ophelia and her love life can be interpreted this way. What does this motif contribute to Hamlet? Discuss Hamlet’s obsession with Gertrude’s sexual relationships from the Freudian perspective.
- Hamlet’s attitude towards women.
The only women in the entire play are Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, and love interest, Ophelia. Both of them are very close to Hamlet, even though he regularly verbally abuses them. However, the protagonist does not merely attack their qualities—the whole Hamlet’s tone is misogynistic. What makes him hate women? Discuss it in your Hamlet essay.
- A theme of revenge in Hamlet.
This theme is one of the most fruitful Hamlet essay topics. It unites three characters: Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras. Why is Hamlet the only character who hesitates to act? Elaborate on his internal conflict concerning vengeance and how other mentioned characters serve as his foils. What makes Hamlet a unique revenge tragedy?
- An existentialist reading of Hamlet.
To elaborate on a more challenging Hamlet research paper topic, choose this one. Is Hamlet an existentialist? Why Hamlet’s inability to act can be seen as a form of action? How can existentialist philosophy provide a fresh view of the play?
- Compare and contrast Hamlet and Laertes.
Hamlet and Laertes have very different personalities yet share a lot of traits. Discuss their attitude towards women, their parents, and each other. How does Shakespeare portray the similarities between the characters? Why does Laertes serve as Hamlet’s character foil?
Hamlet Essay Samples
In this section, you will see several essay samples on writings of William Shakespeare to get inspired from. You can also find the description of each essay below.
- Literature Analysis: Hamlet’s Appearance Vs. Reality
Shakespeare’s Hamlet depicts the tensions between appearance and reality. Characters’ emotions and actions often appear to be real, when in fact, they are not. The topic is analyzed via Hamlet, Claudius, Polonius, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern. In the play, Shakespeare highlights the deceitfulness of these characters.
- Revenge in the Play “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”
The main character of the play, Hamlet, is used to depict the theme of revenge. The essay demonstrates that he was avenging his father with the motivations for revenge, the process of revenge, and the actual revenge. These stages are described by examples from the play and literary analyses.
- Literature Analysis of Hamlet’s Soliloquies
The paper analyses Hamlet’s qualities based on his monologues. His character is well portrayed through his soliloquies. The essay takes on his religiosity, the fear of damnation, the want of justified revenge, the talent of critical thinking, and his flaws.
- Women Role in Shakespeare’s Othello and Hamlet
These Shakespearens plays portrayed women as one of the significant causes of conflict. The essay examines their roles in both pieces and compares their actions, age, and depiction.
- Hamlet’s Costume Design
Scenic design is a vital part of any play. It communicates the mood through illustrations of climate conditions, people’s statuses, and political instability. Thus, the paper examines the importance of colors and clothes design and how they reveal the characters’ emotions.
- Modern Film Version of “Hamlet” by Shakespeare
The essay describes the modern film version of Hamlet and why it is worth seeing. The author mentions the excellent acting, modern-dress production, and single-camera setup.
- Ophelia in “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare
Ophelia’s unhealthy love for Hamlet and consequent tragedy are stressed in the present paper. She is the embodiment of tragedy in the play. The author discusses her actions by using lack of maternal guidance, lack of exposure, and naivety.