Elsinore, Denmark: in and around the royal palace

The story of Hamlet is collection in the late middle eras (14th and also 15th centuries, or 1300 to 1499) in and also around (mostly) the royal palace in Elsinore, a city in Denmark.

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Sixteenth-Century Vibe

The story may have actually a particular location and time, however it"s not exactly historical drama: the play has actually a distinctive turn-of-the-17th century vibe. (Remember, Hamlet to be written in between 1599 and 1601).

For starters, over there are several allusions come the protestant Reformation, i m sorry wasn"t initiated until around 1517, once Martin Luther laid the end his beef through the Catholic Church in his Ninety-five Theses. Denmark (like England) to be a Protestant nation at the time Shakespeare composed the play and also Hamlet appears to it is in the quintessential Protestant boy —he walk to college in Wittenberg, Germany (where boy name Luther hung out) and also he"s also skeptical of the Ghost, who insurance claims to be his father"s Purgatorial spirit. (Protestants garbage the concept of Purgatory together mere "superstition" —you have the right to read an ext about this in our discussion of "Religion.")

There"s likewise a totality lot the play-acting in Hamlet, consisting of a power of The killing of Gonzago, which is placed on through a convoy of traveling players (actors) who drop through the castle to placed on a small show. That"s just the kind of thing that would have actually gone under in Elizabethan England. (Be sure to inspect out "Art and also Culture" for more on this.)

We need to also point out that contemporary directors that stage and also film execution of Hamlet have collection the play in places and periods ranging from Elizabethan England come nineteenth century Europe to twenty-first century new York City, wherein Gertrude and also Claudius operation a high-powered new York corporation and also the ghost that Old Hamlet shows up on security televisions in the company"s offices. The reality that this setup somehow works is a testimony to the universality and relevance that the play"s themes.

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The royal Court

Then, the course, there"s the truth that the whole thing takes place at Denmark"s imperial court. The dynamic is high-powered and also manipulative, like—well, a lot like a high-powered corporation. Public picture matters. Hamlet doesn"t just acquire to it is in a moody teenager in his own bedroom: he needs to do his farming up top top stage. (And we all know how well that works out.)

Actually, political youngsters might be a better analogy: Hamlet"s strange actions is a liability to his parents, who have actually a political interest in bringing that under control. "Madness in great ones should not unwatched go," claims Claudius (3.1.203). It"s a big political nightmare for Claudius and Gertrude.

Of course, the royal court isn"t the only place Hamlet hangs out. If you want to think about the setup of, say, the graveyard, examine out "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory."