Hamlet portrayed by the actor Edwin Booth, c. 1870

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, often shortened to Hamlet (t/), is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1599 and 1602. Set in Denmark, the play depicts Prince Hamlet and his revenge against his uncle, Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet's father in order to seize his throne and marry Hamlet's mother.

Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play and is considered among the most powerful and influential works of world literature, with a story capable of "seemingly endless retelling and adaptation by others".[1] It was one of Shakespeare's most popular works during his lifetime[2] and still ranks among his most performed, topping the performance list of the Royal Shakespeare Company and its predecessors in Stratford-upon-Avon since 1879.[3] It has inspired many other writers—from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Charles Dickens to James Joyce and Iris Murdoch—and has been described as "the world's most filmed story after Cinderella".[4]

The story of Shakespeare's Hamlet was derived from the legend of Amleth, preserved by 13th-century chronicler Saxo Grammaticus in his Gesta Danorum, as subsequently retold by the 16th-century scholar François de Belleforest. Shakespeare may also have drawn on an earlier Elizabethan play known today as the Ur-Hamlet, though some scholars believe Shakespeare wrote the Ur-Hamlet, later revising it to create the version of Hamlet we now have. He almost certainly wrote his version of the title role for his fellow actor, Richard Burbage, the leading tragedian of Shakespeare's time. In the 400 years since its inception, the role has been performed by numerous highly acclaimed actors in each successive century.

Three different early versions of the play are extant: the First Quarto (Q1, 1603); the Second Quarto (Q2, 1604); and the First Folio (F1, 1623). Each version includes lines and entire scenes missing from the others. The play's structure and depth of characterisation have inspired much critical scrutiny. One such example is the centuries-old debate about Hamlet's hesitation to kill his uncle, which some see as merely a plot device to prolong the action but which others argue is a dramatisation of the complex philosophical and ethical issues that surround cold-blooded murder, calculated revenge, and thwarted desire. More recently, psychoanalytic critics have examined Hamlet's unconscious desires, while feminist critics have re-evaluated and attempted to rehabilitate the often-maligned characters of Ophelia and Gertrude.


  • Hamlet – son of the late king and nephew of the present king, Claudius
  • Claudius – king of Denmark, Hamlet's uncle and brother to the former king
  • Gertrude – queen of Denmark and Hamlet's mother
  • Polonius – chief counsellor to the king
  • Ophelia – Polonius's daughter
  • Horatio – friend of Hamlet
  • Laertes – Polonius's son
  • Voltimand and Cornelius – courtiers
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern – courtiers, friends of Hamlet
  • Osric – a courtier
  • Marcellus – an officer
  • Barnardo – an officer
  • Francisco – a soldier
  • Reynaldo – Polonius's servant
  • Ghost – the ghost of Hamlet's father
  • Fortinbras – prince of Norway
  • Gravediggers – a pair of sextons
  • Player King, Player Queen, Lucianus, etc. – players
Other Languages
Afrikaans: Hamlet
العربية: هاملت
asturianu: Hamlet
azərbaycanca: Hamlet
تۆرکجه: هاملت
বাংলা: হ্যামলেট
башҡортса: Гамлет
беларуская: Гамлет
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Гамлет
Bislama: Hamlet
български: Хамлет
bosanski: Hamlet
català: Hamlet
čeština: Hamlet
Cymraeg: Hamlet
dansk: Hamlet
Deutsch: Hamlet
eesti: Hamlet
Ελληνικά: Άμλετ
español: Hamlet
Esperanto: Hamleto
euskara: Hamlet
فارسی: هملت
français: Hamlet
Frysk: Hamlet
galego: Hamlet
贛語: 咸勒
한국어: 햄릿
हिन्दी: हैमलेट
hrvatski: Hamlet
Bahasa Indonesia: Hamlet
interlingua: Hamlet
íslenska: Hamlet
italiano: Amleto
עברית: המלט
ქართული: ჰამლეტი
қазақша: Гамлет
kurdî: Hamlet
Кыргызча: Гамлет
лакку: Гьамлет
latviešu: Hamlets
lietuvių: Hamletas
македонски: Хамлет
മലയാളം: ഹാംലെറ്റ്
مصرى: هامليت
Bahasa Melayu: Hamlet
Minangkabau: Hamlet
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Hamlet
монгол: Гамлет
Nederlands: Hamlet
नेपाली: ह्याम्लेट
日本語: ハムレット
norsk: Hamlet
norsk nynorsk: Hamlet
occitan: Hamlet
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Hamlet
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਹੈਮਲਟ
polski: Hamlet
português: Hamlet
română: Hamlet
Runa Simi: Hamlet
русский: Гамлет
Scots: Hamlet
shqip: Hamleti
සිංහල: හැම්ලට්
Simple English: Hamlet
slovenčina: Hamlet
slovenščina: Hamlet
کوردی: ھاملێت
српски / srpski: Хамлет
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Hamlet
suomi: Hamlet
svenska: Hamlet
Tagalog: Hamlet
Türkçe: Hamlet
українська: Гамлет
Tiếng Việt: Hamlet
Winaray: Hamlet
ייִדיש: האמלעט
粵語: 哈姆雷特
中文: 哈姆雷特