A. Hamlet is written by William Shakespeare
B. Written in London, England in the early seventeenth century
C. The play takes place in Denmark during the late medieval age (1300’s-1500’s)
D. From an audience-response perspective, Shakespeare intentionally leaves parts of the play vague.
Ophelia’s unclear cause for death, Claudius’ supposed guilt, and Hamlet’s true desire for revenge and just some of the cases where Shakespeare leaves the specifics vague as to allow the audience to formulate their own interpretations. There are small hints regarding the truth behind Shakespeare’s intentions, such as when Gertrude claims that Ophelia’s death was an accident, while providing small details that make the audience ponder whether or not Gertrude witnessed Ophelia’s death and if her death was an accident as Gertrude claims. This leaves the audience questioning the validity of Gertrude’s claims and what really happened to Ophelia.
Claudius proclaims his guilt for his brother’s murder; however he is hesitant to recant what he has done for fear of losing his possessions and power. Does Claudius actually feel guilty about murdering his brother since he had not repented for his murder? Hamlet seemingly has a desire to get vengeance for his father, yet he doesn’t act in the name of this revenge quest. It makes the audience question if Hamlet’s true goal is actually vengeance. If it is, why doesn’t he act on it? These questions Shakespeare intentionally leaves open for the audience to make their own interpretations. Through this unique writing style Shakespeare uses, he is allowing for the audience to formulate different, unique ideas regarding the play.