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How to Write an Hamlet Essay: Tips, Topics, and Examples

By Evans Nov 09 2020

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.


Perhaps someone should have told Hamlet this before he embarked on a journey of revenge. Hamlet is a tragedy drama, and rightly so. Prince Hamlet embarks on a journey to avenge the death of his father, king of Denmark. He pretends to be insane to kill his uncle Claudius who killed his father, married his recently widowed mother, and became the king in his father's place. The revenge doesn't go so well as Hamlet, Claudius, Gertrude (his mother), and Laertes (his opponent) all end up dead.  

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Hamlet is an exciting play to read. It is even much more interesting to write an essay on. There are so many essay topics and themes in Hamlet that one can choose to concentrate on. Being one of the famous Shakespeare's books, it is important to understand it as a literature student. Paper per hour helps you understand this interesting play by looking at various themes and essay topics.

Themes in hamlet


Hamlet gets back from school in Germany to bury his father. On getting home, he is surprised to find that his mother has already remarried and made his uncle the king after his father. The ghost of his father sets Hamlet on a path to revenge after he establishes the fact that Claudius killed his father. Despite knowing for sure that Claudius is the murderer of his father, he cannot find a way of getting justice, except by killing him.

Laertes also seeks revenge for his sister's death (Ophelia), who ran mad and later committed suicide after Hamlet rejected her. The desire for revenge leads to the end of everyone involved. While writing an essay about revenge in hamlet, here are some essay topics that you can consider:

  1. Why did Hamlet hesitate to kill Claudius? Is the hesitation a result of indecisiveness or value for human life or morality?
  2. What is the understanding of justice, according to Hamlet? Did his flopped revenge succeed in getting revenge for his dead father?
  3. Is Hamlet a hero or a villain? What in the play supports your opinion?
  4. How does revenge develop in the play? What makes it significant?
  5. How does the journey of revenge affect the relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet?
  6. 'His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.' Discuss.
  7. Is Laertes' revenge mission justified?


Hamlet pretends to be insane in order to understand the role of Claudius in his father's death. Or is it just pretense? Here are some essay topics regarding the same:

  1. Does Hamlet's pretense of being mad become a reality? In what ways does the death of his father and betrayal of his mother test his sanity?
  2. Discuss, based on Ophelia's reaction to Hamlet's rejection: can love make someone grow insane?

Love and hatred

What does hamlet believe about love?

What kind of a relationship does Hamlet have with Ophelia? Is there genuine love on his part for her? Back your opinion with instances in the play.

What role does love play in Hamlet?

According to the play, is love stronger than hate?

How does the death of Ophelia affect Hamlet? Why do you think he reacts like that after knowing that he's dead?

'The enemy of my enemy is my friend.' Discuss this in relation to Claudius and Laertes' partnership.


Suicide is a major theme in Hamlet. Hamlet often thinks of suicide, especially when alone. According to Hamlet, the only thing standing between him and suicide is God since He has made suicide a sin. Perhaps if he were not religious, Hamlet would have already committed suicide. On the other hand, Ophelia does not talk of suicide, yet she ends up killing herself.

Why does Hamlet toy with the idea of suicide?

What's your stand on Ophelia's suicide? Should she have handled her heartbreak in any other way?

How do morality and religious belief save hamlet from committing suicide?

What is the role of suicide in Hamlet? Why is it significant?

From Hamlet's perspective, why would someone choose to commit suicide?

Emotional conflict is the number one cause of suicide. Discuss, giving examples from the play.

Other hamlet essay topics

What is the role of women in Hamlet?

How does hamlet view women? Look at his relationship with his mother and Ophelia.

What is the role of religion in the play? How is the relationship between Hamlet and religion?

What kind of a ruler is Claudius? Do you think Hamlet would have made a better king?

According to the play, does the ghost's presence prove that Hamlet is not mentally stable? Is the ghost real?

How does Shakespeare use the imagery in Hamlet? What is the importance of imagery?

Why does Hamlet feel betrayed by his mother? Does her hurried marriage to her late husband's brother a show of her disloyalty?

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Compare and contrast Hamlet's personality and that of his friend Horatio. What kind of a friend is Horatio?

How does Hamlet compare to King Lear?

Final thoughts

Hamlet is a fantastic play to base your essay on. There are so many areas you can focus on, from themes, characters, the plot, setting, among others. You can even choose to compare it with other literary works.

All you need to have is an understanding of the play as well as essay writing. At paper per hour, we have a team of essay writers on standby, ready to help you with all your essay writing needs. Our essay writers are literature enthusiasts, meaning that your Hamlet essay will be handled professionally and passionately.

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