Hamlet Analysised

There are only a few scenes that happen outside of it, most famously the scene at the graveside when Hamlet laments the loss of his old jester, Yorick, and then fights in Ophelia’s grave with her brother Laertes. The play is set sometime in the middle ages and there are clearly delineated family relations and moral codes of honour that drive much of the play’s action. Because most of the characters are members of the royal family they are responsible for Denmark. The family is under threat from within because of the actions of Claudius and the revenge that Hamlet seeks, but it is also under threat from the outside as the Swedish under Fortinbras are preparing to invade it. There are existential threats everywhere—and this is an important aspect to consider.
Indeed, this is an important theme of the story: the threat of death that seems omnipresent. Ellsinore still has a cloud over it: the death of Hamlet’s father. It affects everyone, but Hamlet worst of all. From his first words in the play we understand the state of mind he has:
He is virtually suicidal after meeting his uncle and mother, married so shortly after his father’s death. The threat from within is a theme personified by Hamlet’s suicidal feelings which are later further explored in the famous soliloquy: “To be or not to be . . .” People worry about Hamlet, but as the play continues their worry is extended to others. Ophelia, spurned by Hamlet, goes mad and drowns herself. A fear begins to grip everyone. Hamlet, anxious for revenge, kills Ophelia’s father behind the arras when visiting his mother’s room. The threat is not just at the point of the knife—it is that people are listening everywhere. Throughout the play characters are always spying on one another and reporting to others. Even Rosencrantz and Guilderstern, Hamlet’s best friends are convinced to betray him—for this they are rewarded with death