William Shakespeare is known for creating some of the most beloved pieces of literature in the history of mankind and near the top of his library is the story of Hamlet. This is required reading for most high school students because of the well written language and the themes that are presented. It is often said of Shakespeare that one of the reasons for his longevity is the understanding of the human character that his plays often display for the readers. The themes are timeless and even a person from the year 2014 can still relate to the inner turmoil that dogs a Shakespearian character, like Hamlet.

The Story

Hamlet is the son of a king, whose father was killed by his brother who took his throne and his wife. The ghost of the dead king, visited young Prince Hamlet and told him to avenge his death. But Hamlet was no ordinary person. He was a deep thinker who couldn’t do anything without taking a lot of time to contemplate the act he was about to enter into. He was depressed and it would seem that the king could have found a more spirited avenger. After awhile people notice the irrational behavior of Hamlet and they decide to have him shipped off to England. Hamlet accidently kills the wrong person and is then banished. While in England his uncle sends assassins to kill Hamlet. The assassins are inept as well and eventually Hamlet returns to his home at the castle. Hamlet is then drawn into a battle with all of his family, which involves sword fights and poison. In the end Hamlet avenges his father before dying of poison himself and all the royal family is killed and it is a tragic ending.

The themes in this play are many. First there is family loyalty, that is tested by a ghost, but who wouldn’t want to avenge the death of their father if they could. Especially if the murderer killed the father and took his wife, possessions and power. There is the theme of the ethics behind murder and how even if it is justified that it perhaps can cost a person his soul. There is also the very important theme that revenge is never going to pay off for people as they will end up paying as much of a price as anyone. This is a classic tragic story that allows people to put themselves into the shoes of young Hamlet and imagine what they might do if they were faced with the situation.