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What once had been a relatively simple form was gradually altered by playwrights to allow for more depth in characterization, more flexibility in plot structure, and the element of comic relief. Hamlet¡¦s situation, for example, is considered a tragic one although it differs from the relatively simple plots found in the earlier Greek tragedies. He is a nobleman, revered by his countrymen, who strives to alter the world around him. Ultimately, he must forfeit his own life to see justice done. The plot that unfolds in Shakespeare¡¦s drama includes politics, murder, and domestic strife, but still evokes pity and terror in the audience, precisely as intended by the early tragedians.
Students can analyze the elements of tragedy in Hamlet, comparing and contrasting Prince Hamlet¡¦s plight with that of tragic heroes in Greek tragedies and in modern tragedies. Suggested modern tragedies for such a comparison include Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, and Mourning Becomes Electra, by Eugene O¡¦Neill.
The play takes play in Denmark. Young Prince Hamlet has found out that his father Old King Hamlet had been killed by his uncle Claudius, who had taken the throne. The wraith of his dead father pleads for him to revenge his ¡§death most foul.¡¨ Hamlet under great pressure and stress becomes, or acts insane.
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