Hamlet, The Prince of Denmark is a play written by William Shakespeare that expresses Prince Hamlet’s discovery of himself, his demise and his revenge against his uncle. Hamlet is one of the most well-known works of literature and Shakespeare’s most famous play. Shakespeare went beyond that of any play at the time by asking questions of human existence. Since Hamlet is such a well-known work, it has been analyzed many ways. Subsequent analyzations include Catholic v. Protestant, the Feminist approach, the Freudian approach, Traditional Revenge Tragedy, and the Existentialist approach.
Hamlet has aspects of both Catholicism and Protestantism, but yet there is still unclear spirituality within the work. Throughout the play, there are several references to Catholicism such as the king not being able to repent of his death, thus his spirit being confined to purgatory, as well as Ophelia’s funeral. However, the revenge in question and the thought Hamlet ponders of suicide are both sins in Catholicism. On the other hand, Shakespeare’s era was historically Protestant, and he makes several Protestant references as well. He mentions Protestant locations such as Denmark and Wittenberg (where Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses). It is implied Hamlet is Protestant considering he is from Denmark, but he expresses Catholic desires in his existentialist journey deciding what is and what is not. The play is both Catholic yet un-Catholic and Protestant yet un-Protestant at the same time.