Hamlet

When do you know a work of literature has stood the test of time? When William

Shakespeare wrote it. But why are his works so respected and cherished? One of
his most famous works, Hamlet, is still a favorite among actors and occasional
readers, alike, but why? Why is Shakespeare’s work still able to challenge and
inspire people, four hundred years after it was written? The answer is simple.

Shakespeare’s work, though complicated, will never have just one meaning, it
will always be up to the interpretation of the people of the time that is
interpreting the drama. And with this reason, Shakespeare will always be
powerful and applicable to the day. One of the first reasons why Hamlet will
never lose importance is because of the incestuous relationship between

Hamlet’s mother, Queen Gertrude, and uncle, King Claudius. Even in Elizabethan
times, Hamlet was disturbed by his mother’s new love. In scene II of the first
act, Hamlet’s disgust with his mother’s incestuous relationship and pain
over his own father’s death is no more clear then in the lines of his speech:

But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two: so excellent a king; that was,
to this, Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother that he might not beteem
the winds of heaven visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth! Must I
remember? Why, she would hang on him, as if increase of appetite had grown by
what it fed on: and yet, within a month—let me not think on’t—frailty, thy
name is woman! —a little month, or ere those shoes were old with which she
followed my poor father’s body, like Niobe, all tear:--why she, even she—o

God! A beast, that wants discourse of reason, would have mourn’d
longer—married with my uncle, my father’s brother, but no more like my
father than I to Hercules: within a month: ere yet the salt of most unrighteous
tears had left the flushing in her galled eyes, she married. O, most wicked
speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheet! It is not nor it cannot
come to good: but break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue. (Act I, Scene II,
line 138-158) As shown by Hamlet’s words, his feelings are very clear. He is
ashamed of his mother’s bed hopping. However, what he’s most hurt by is the
fact that his mother was able to move on so quickly. To him, it appeared as if
one day she was living on his father’s each and every word, and then the next
sleeping with his uncle. The unusual thing about this situation though, was how
accepting the people of Denmark were to their new king. In today’s society,
there would be no difference in how the son of a mother might feel, but
definitely a distinct difference in how all other people would feel. Incestuous
relationships are taboo and not accepted as normal and healthy relationships.

Not only the son of the Queen of Denmark but the people as well would be much
less accepting of their Queen marrying her brother-in-law only two months after
the death of her husband, the King. There would be endless rumors and problems
arising from such a relationship, so the rest of the government would never
allow Claudius to become King. But since this play is staged four hundred years
ago, such modern inconveniences, like the media, and magazines, such as the

Globe, would not have to be considered when love decisions were made. Lucky for
us today, we do have these inconveniences, even though many people think
they’re useless and a waste of paper. If they existed four hundred years ago,

Shakespeare would never have been able to write such a play. The fact that
incest will never go away and always be an issue in whatever time Hamlet is read
in, people will never grow tired of the play and always argue about the incest
element to the play. Another reason why Hamlet will always be well read is the
character Hamlet’s indecisiveness. No matter who is reading it, the reader
will always have some type of memory in which he or she was indecisive and
because of his or her inability to make a decision, a whole string of events
occurred that never should have. In Hamlet’s case, the fact that he had a
chance to murder Claudius but didn’t, could be seen as a huge mistake and the
climax of the play. If Hamlet had been able to make the decision to murder his
uncle there, instead of waiting until