Hamlet: The Epitome of Timeless Literature Essay

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Hamlet: The Epitome of Timeless Literature
“If all the plays ever suddenly disappeared and only Hamlet miraculously survived, all the theaters in the world would be saved. They could all put on Hamlet and be successful”- Vsevolod Meyerhold (a Russian director). Why is it that Hamlet alone could save the theaters? It could be the basic, underlying story: that the King kills his brother in order to obtain the throne forcing his son to seek revenge. This key factor can be interpreted differently depending on who is reading the play which leads to its timelessness and universality.
Based off of an old Norse play by Kyd, Shakespeare took the “revenge play” and made it modern for it’s time. Although it followed the same pattern; a king is
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Polonius also tries to deceive Hamlet by spying, as he says, “he’s going to his mother’s closet. Behind the arras I’ll convey myself to hear the process.” A third person who tries to deceive Hamlet is Laertes who “bought an unction of a mountebank so mortal that, but dip a knife in it, where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare, collected from all simples that have virtue…” so that he could kill Hamlet in a fencing match. In all three of these cases though the plan fails and Hamlet is ultimately successful. This means that not only can people relate to being deceived but deception does not win out in the end. Even after multiple attempts at stopping Hamlet from killing Cladious, the underdog (Hamlet) still wins in the end.
Hamlet, as a play can also be deciphered differently depending on the reader. In the 1800s Hamlet was interpreted by Romantic critics as “the psychological study of a prince too delicate and sensitive for his public mission.” A hundred years later the Intellectuals looked at the story as a parallel of the “disillusionment of revolutionary failure [in] czarist Russia..[that] Hamletism became the acknowledged term for political vacillation and disengagement.” Now Hamlet is revealed by critics as “violent and disturbing.” According to critic…