Hamlet and the Renaissance

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Hamlet and the Renaissance
Hamlet is a play about Prince Hamlet of Denmark written by English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. Shakespeare lived in England from 1564 to 1616 during the late Renaissance era (Fiero, 2011). He is considered by people across the world and from many different disciplines as the world’s greatest dramatist and poet (Wadsworth, 2007). Shakespeare’s works continue to captivate audiences across the world today the same way they did when he first wrote them some 400 years ago. This is evident by the number of Hollywood movies that have been produced and playhouses that dedicate themselves to Shakespeare’s works. The reason Shakespeare’s works are still popular 400 years after he wrote them is because he created characters that his audience can relate to in one way or the other. Specifically, Shakespeare used ideals from the Renaissance era relating to Humanism and the Elizabethan society in which he lived in. He understood the ideals of the people he wrote the plays for and used those same ideals and applied them to the characters in his plays. One play in particular, Hamlet, is a good example of how Shakespeare used Renaissance ideals in his works to gain the sympathy and understanding of his audience. The Renaissance took place from the early 1300’s and ended about 1600 (Hankins, 2007). The movement originated in Italy and spread to England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and other countries (Hankins, 2007). Renaissance is a French world with Latin roots meaning “rebirth” (Hankins, 2007). The Renaissance represented an era of renewed interest in the ancient Greek and Roman cultures after the Middle Ages, an era during which the most important field of study was theology (Hankins, 2007). While the people of the Middle Ages were more concerned with studying theology, the Renaissance thinkers were more interested in the study of humanity (Hankins, 2007). During the Renaissance, an intellectual movement called humanism...
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