Historical and Biographical Approach on Hamlet


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Historical and Biographical Approach on Hamlet
By: Ma. Cristina D. Panganoran

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Historical and Biographical Approach on Hamlet

  1. 1. Historical and Biographical Approach on Hamlet By: Ma. Cristina D. Panganoran Hamlet is one of the most popular plays Shakespeare ever created. The plotsvary from comedy to tragedy. The personalities that progress from humorous toheartbreaking characters make the story come alive, the wonderful cast that the brilliantwriter, William Shakespeare had created not only touched our hearts but remained inour memory until now. Not only do we remember the stories but we remember thepeople and sometimes even the famous lines like “This above all: To thine own self betrue”. The words used in the play are spoken in old English language just like inShakespeare’s own era. Looking back at the setting of the play, we will notice that the time whenShakespeare lived must be a place where kings and queens rule so it would most likelyresult to a play with settings of a castle like in Hamlet. There is a theory that ElsinoreCastle in the play Hamlet has immortalized Kronborg Castle which was used as itsmodel. It was built between 1574 and 1585 in the town of Helsingør on the extremenortheastern tip of Zealand. The castle has been one of the most significant Renaissancecastles in Northern Europe for centuries. Shakespeare married the 26-year-old Anne Hathaway at the age of 18. Thecouple may have arranged the ceremony in some haste, since the Worcester chancellorallowed the marriage banns to be read once instead of the usual three times. Annespregnancy could have been the reason for this. With regards to the characters in hisplay, this also would be another similarity in the play Hamlet, where a hasty marriageis involved. Six months after the marriage, she gave birth to a daughter, Susanna.Twins, son ‘Hamnet’ and daughter Judith followed almost two years later. Hamnetdied of unknown causes at the age of 11 and was buried on 11 August 1596. Shakespeare lost one of the twins and the particular twin was named Hamnet.The great bard must have wanted to name the main character in the play Hamnet butsomehow it was changed to Hamlet. Since Hamlet died in the play as his son Hamnetdied, maybe the play had something to do with Shakespeare real life. Maybe he usedthis play to cope with the death of his son or it could be that this play is dedicated forHamnet his son who died at a young age. One particular thing I noticed with Hamlet is the part where he invited thetravelling actors, it displays that only men are allowed to become actors, and this is alsotrue in the era of Shakespeare. At his time, women weren’t allowed to be an actress. Ifyou noticed, a man played the character of Gertrude in the movie Hamlet. To end myanalysis, the play is very much in touch with the writer’s personal experience, social lifeand environment during his time.