S-Cool Revision Summary

S-Cool Revision Summary

Hamlet is a revenge tragedy, with which Shakespeare's audience would have been very familiar. It is, perhaps, Shakespeare's most famous tragedy, and Hamlet himself his most famous tragic hero. Audiences over the years have differed in their responses to him.

Do you see him as an indecisive and weak man who would never have been able to rule Denmark? Is he a noble and intelligent scholar who is destroyed by corruption and deceit? Is he a victim of Fate? Or is he too complex for the circumstances he finds himself in? What exactly would you say is Hamlet's tragic flaw?

Hamlet: Rational, noble, articulate and intelligent OR indecisive and confused, lacking courage and finding it difficult to act? Misogynistic.

Ophelia: Genuine in a false world, a dutiful victim OR merely weak and malleable?

Claudius: Successful, clever and ruthless politician OR murderous and incestuous liar?

Gertrude: Loving mother' loyal wife (to both husbands) OR Aid to Claudius, weak and lacking judgement?

Polonius: Loyal to Crown and caring father OR interfering pompous and long-winded busybody?

Laertes: Dutiful and brave or weak in allowing himself to manipulated by Claudius and his own emotions?





Illusion and reality

Natural and unnatural


The play within the play

Death and the afterlife - including the Ghost


Hamlet's soliloquies

The Court

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

"There is something rotten in the state of Denmark" What? And how do we know?

Discuss the importance of duty in the play.

In Act 1, Scene 4, Hamlet refers to a "vicious mole of nature". To what extent is Hamlet a tragic hero of this type?

Discuss the importance of appearance and reality in the play.

Have you read the play four times - as advised by the Chief Examiner?

Highlight the key words in the question.

Plan your answer.

Next make sure that you have links.

Introduction - Respond directly to the question - and keep this in mind throughout.

Conclusion - Look again at the introduction, and close the argument you opened at the start of the essay.