- References to Hamlet
Numerous references to "
Hamlet" in popular culture(in film, literature, arts, etc.) reflect the continued influence of this play, which is probably the most popular of Shakespeare's plays, judging by the number of productions. [It tops the list at the Royal Shakespeare since 1879 (Crystal, David, & Ben Crystal, The Shakespeare Miscellany. New York, 2005), which is suggestive.]
It has been argued that there are, effectively, only thirty-some-odd unique plots in all of literature ("
Romeo and Juliet" has probably inspired more tragic love tales than any work in the history of literature). Hamlet is not as easy to copy as other plots, but it has been done.
*The stage version of the musical "
Hair", as originally written, has a major subplot in which Claude, one of the two protagonists of the play, repeatedly tries and fails to burn his draft card, resulting in his shunningby the Tribe; Claude is a hippie Hamlet. In addition, the play has numerous direct references and quotations from Shakespeare's Hamlet.
*Richard Curtis's "
Skinhead Hamlet", a brief, very rude, parodyof the play which, according to the editors is meant to be:::"Shakespeare's play translated into modern English. Our hope was to achieve something like the effect of the New English Bible. --Eds."
*In Tennessee Williams' 1946 play, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', Blanche urges Stanley to "Possess your soul in patience"
*There is a one act play entitled "Something's Rotten in the State of Denmark", which heavily spoofs Hamlet. It basically shows how bad Hamlet can get.
Film and Television
*Themes and plot elements from the
Disneyfilm " The Lion King" are inspired by Hamlet.
*The film "
Gladiator (movie)" somewhat parallels the plot of Hamlet.
*The comedy "
Strange Brew" (1983) is loosely based on "Hamlet". However, the state of Denmark is replaced by the ownership of Elsinore Brewery and Hamlet is portrayed as a woman.
*"Hamlet" features strongly in the film "
Renaissance Man", in which Danny DeVito's character uses its plot and characters to introduce a group of under-achieving soldiers to critical thinking.
Youssef Chahinefrequently cites from "Hamlet" in his films. His films "Alexandria... Why?" (1978) and "Alexandria... New York"(2004) feature performances of soliloquies. In "Alexandria Again and Forever" (1990) "Hamlet" appears as a film within the film.
*"". Lily, Princess Mia's best friend, refers to Mia's two chambermaids as "Rosencrantz" and "Guildenstern"
The Ninth Configuration" featured mentally ill soldiers in an asylum, one of whom wants to stage an all-dog production of Hamlet — the title role, of course, going to a Great Dane.
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle", Harold and Kumar are neighbors of "Rosenberg and Goldstein", a Jewish mockery of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern. Also, Harold's love interest Maria visits the "Ophelia" movie theater.
*In the cult British comedy film "
Withnail & I", Withnail's uncle Monty reminisces about giving up acting on realising that he would "never play the Dane" — how at that moment in a young man's life all ambition ceases. Withnail says it is a part he intends to play. The film finishes with Withnail in the rain making the speech from Hamlet "I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth" to some captive wolves.
*The play has been referenced in the 2003 remake of "Freaky Friday". In an English class, the play is discussed, and in the course of the scene, the quote from the 1948 film starring
Laurence Olivieris used as the answer to the question "Describe the character of Hamlet." The answer: "A man who couldn't make up his mind."
*In the film "
The Big Lebowski" Walter says, "Goodnight, sweet prince" at Donny's funeral.
* "Goodnight, sweet prince" is also said by a gang member after the shooting of Alex Murphy in "
* Hamlet is quoted in the
Neil Jordanfilm, 'Interview With the Vampire'. Claudia, the child-vampire, quotes "Goodnight sweet prince, may flights of devils sing thee to thy rest."
*The 2006 Chinese film The Banquet has a storyline closely based on the story of Hamlet.
*The "" (1991) character General Chang, a
Klingonofficer, is a Shakespeare aficionado, and opines that Shakespearian works were best experienced in the "original" Klingon. Indeed, Klingonists Nick Nicholas and Andrew Strader in 1996 published " The Klingon Hamlet" — a Klingon translation of the play. The Klingon version of the famous quote "to be or not to be", which Chang recites at a number of points in the film, is "taH pagh taHbe' ".
*In Billy Madison, near the end when Billy and Eric are competing, Eric is reciting a piece from Hamlet and Billy interrupts by finishing the piece.
*The horror movie "
A Nightmare on Elm Street" features a dream sequence where the teenage heroine is in class listening to another student recite dialogue from Hamlet,"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams."
Pan's Labyrinthfeatures a main character named Ofelia whose father has died.
*There is a brief mention of Uncle Yorick in the animated film "
Quest for Camelot".
*In the film True Romance, the phrase, "something is rotten in Denmark" is used more than once. Also the protagonist is haunted by the 'King'.
The Addams Family(1991), Wednesday and Pugsley perform a scene from Hamletfor a school play.
*In both the musical and 2005 film adaptation of "The Producers", Max Bialystock's musical "Funny Boy" closes on opening night. It is supposedly a musical version of Hamlet.
Soapdish, Jeffrey Anderson (Kevin Kline) expresses his desire to perform a One-Man Hamlet, which he justifies by saying the whole thing is happening in Hamlet's head, so you only need one actor.
*In Clueless (1995), Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) uses her familiarity with Mel Gibson (who once played Hamlet on film) to prove to her stepbrother's then-girlfriend that Polonius was indeed the character in Hamlet who says "To thine own self be true."
The Departed, Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) reminds Collin Sullivan (Matt Damon) that the "readiness is all" before a sting operation.
*In Billy Madison, Billy & his arch nemesis are competing in an academic decathlon. For one section, they recite lines from Hamlet's soliloquy beginning with "To be or not to be, that is the question?"
*In Gettysburg, Union Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain recites Hammlet's speech "What a piece of work is man. How infinite in faculties and form, and movement... How express and admirable. In action how like an angel" while discussing slavery. To which Sergeant Kilrain responds "Well, if he's an angel, all right then... But he damn well must be a killer angel."
Ingmar Bergman's " Fanny and Alexander", the children's father is rehearsing the part of the Ghost for a production of the play when he dies, and then appears to Alexander later in the film as an actual ghost. The play's plot is also referenced in other ways, including Alexander's hatred for and confrontation with his new stepfather. A character even explicitly tells Alexander that he is not Hamlet.
The Empire Strikes Back, the fifth episode of the Star Warssaga, Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) tries to reassemble the droid C-3PO's body while imprisoned in Cloud City. At one point, Chewbacca holds C-3PO's head in much the same way that Hamlet is traditionally depicted as holding Yorick's skull. This reference was intentional on the part of the director. [Irvin Kershner, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back DVD Commentary.]
*The title of
North By Northwestparaphrases Hamlet (Act II, Scene II), Hamlet is quoted as saying: "I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw."
wuxiafilm "Legend of the Black Scorpion" is loosely based on Hamlet.
*"" mirrored Hamlet's death in the episode "Code of Hero" in which former Predacon
Dinobottakes on the entire Predaconteam without backup in order to save a group of protohumans, ultimately saving humanity before it evolved into today's current existence. With his Maximalcomrades crowded around his dying form, he quotes, "Tell my tale to those who ask. Tell it truly; the ill deeds along with the good, and let me be judged accordingly. The rest... is silence.". Dinobot also references Hamlet in the episode "Victory" when he states "Ah Tarantulas, I knew him, Cheetor. This were the legs that stalked so many victims", and before his death began a monologue about whether he could choose his own destiny with the words, "To be or not to be".
*In both Tales of Interest
Futuramaepisodes Bender's death is followed by the line "Goodnight, sweet prince."
* In an episode of the original "
Star Trek" series entitled "The Conscience of the King" features a production of "Hamlet". Some aspects of the episode (e.g., Kirk's hesitation to confront a murderer until he is sure of his guilt) echo themes in the play.
*In the Season 5 "Oracle" episode of "Smallville",
Clark Kentis visited by the "Ghost" of his father, who demands that Clark avenge his death. Clark struggles with the decision of how to act on his "vision."
* The season 4 midseason finale of
Stargate Atlantisis titled "This Mortal Coil". The following episode is titled "Be All My Sins Remember'd". Both are from Hamlet's "To be, or not to be" soliloquy.
*The Season 5 episode
The Paragon of Animalsof Babylon 5is named after a sentence in Hamlet's What a piece of work is a man. In this episode, the telepath Byron recites part of this speech.
* The 2008 film "
Hamlet 2" briefly mentions hamlet merely as a device to be a companion with jesus in a time machine. otherwise from that, there are very few similarities
*"Hamlet Goes Business" (Hamlet liikemaailmassa) (1987) by
Aki Kaurismäkiis a comic reworking of the story as a power struggle in a rubber duck factory.
*Episode 43 of "
Monty Python's Flying Circus" (1974) is entitled "Hamlet".
The Simpsons" offered a shortened version of "Hamlet" in the episode " Tales from the Public Domain". After this, Homer claims that Hamlet was made into the film " Ghostbusters".
The Brak Show" referenced the basic plot of "Hamlet" in the episode "Braklet, Prince of Spaceland". In the episode, Brak's father is killed by Zorak, who also hypnotizes Brak's mother into believing that the two are married. Brak's father appears as a ghost, and informs Brakwhat has happened. Brak goes insane and makes a movie of the murder, which he shows to Zorak.
*The action movie and comedy film "
Last Action Hero" starts with Arnold Schwarzeneggerstarring in the advert of a (fictional) action movie that is an adaptation of "Hamlet".
*There was of "
South Park" in which Terrance and Philip's professional relationship failed, resulting in one of them moving to Canada to become a Shakespearean actor, subsequently performing "Hamlet" with other Canadian actors, with the ending of the play being shown in the episode.
Frasierfeatures an episode entitled Roz's Krantz And Gouldenstein Are Dead.
FuturamaSlurm episode shows Leela and she says "Something is rotten on the planet Wormulon."
The Colbert ReportDuring a segment of "The Word" a bullet point appears stating "Brevity is the soul of liebel".
*The TV show
Mystery Science Theater 3000had an episode where Mike and the Bots watched a version of Hamlet. The episode was 1009, the ninth episode of the 10th and final season on the Sci-Fi Channel. The movie used was a version made in 1960 for West German TV. This was seen as a way for Best Brains, the shows studio, to do some films that they normally couldn't do since the last season of the show was almost done. While a good effort, this is generally seen among MSTies as one of the weaker episodes of the show, primarily due to the difficulty of riffing on Shakespeare's dialog.
The Three Stoogesshort includes a mule named Yorick. When the Stooges mistakenly believe that they blew up the mule with a stick of dynamite, Moe says "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well!" (This is a common misquotation.)
Tom Stoppard's popular play (and subsequent movie) " Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" depicts the two title characters contemplating their roles as minor players in a bigger drama. Occasional scenes are taken directly from "Hamlet".
Tom Stoppardalso has a short entitled " The Fifteen Minute Hamlet" which includes Philip Seymour Hoffman in the cast. The fifteen minute version is followed by an even shorter version.
*In a "
Gilligan's Island" episode entitled "The Producer," the castaways put on a musical production of "Hamlet" set to the music of " Carmen".
*In "Tales from the Crypt" in the episode "Top Billing", a group of insane playwrights are attempting to stage a performance of "Hamlet", and all they need is a skull.
* A recent successor to Inspector Morse, "
Inspector Lewis", aired an episode called "Lewis and the Ghost of Inspector Morse" which has many direct and indirect references to the play, and indeed Inspector Lewis uses a clue from his dead mentor to solve the case, an eerie parallel Fact|date=February 2007
* In the
Canadian television series Slings and Arrows, the famous actor Geoffrey Tennant returns to the New Burbage Theatre Festival, the site of his greatest triumph and most humiliating failure, to assume the Artistic Directorship after the sudden death of his mentor, Oliver Welles. When Geoffrey returns to the theatre, he finds that it is haunted by the ghost of the recently departed Oliver. Oliver and Geoffrey's interactions are comically reminiscent of the dialogue between Hamlet and the ghost of his father. With Oliver haunting him, Geoffrey directs a remarkable production of Hamlet. The cast includes Due South's Paul Gross, Rachel McAdams, and Mark McKinney.
*In episode 3 of the first series of
The Mighty BooshHoward Moon quotes several lines from Hamlet on the subject of death. In the opening scene Howard recites the lines from Hamlet’s third Soliloquy beginning "Death, the undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveller returns."
* In an episode of Angel, one of the villains proclaims "there's nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so", a line from Hamlet.
anime Outlaw Star. the character Suzukalives by the code "neither a borrower nor a lender be."
*In multiple episodes of
Joan of Arcadia, the play is mentioned. At first, Friedman is told he can go on a date with Judith if he memorizes the entire play. After Judith's tragic death and Friedman's completion of his task, he quotes multiple lines of love in her memory.
*In a season 8 episode of ER entitled "Secrets and Lies," both Drs. John Carter (
Noah Wyle) and Luka Kovac ( Goran Visnjic) reveal that they both performed Hamlet in college; They played Horatio and Hamlet, respectively. Carter began to recite the " to be or not to be" soliloquy, but when he could not remember any more, Luka took over for him, beginning in English and finishing it in Croatian.
*In Season 2 of Queer as Folk, Michael finds out from Ted and Emmett that Brian is in the back room of Babylon. When he goes in to see him, Brian asks who told him he was back there, "Rosencratz or Guildenstern?"
*In Season 4 of Queer as Folk, Brian is contemplating whether Justin is justified in going out and beating up straight guys because a straight guy beat him up. When Ben tells him that violence is never a moral solution, Brian declares "Thus conscience does make cowards of us all."
*In Season 4 of Queer as Folk, after Vic dies, Emmett says that it's tragic. Vic had AIDS, and Brian says that Vic was lucky to have the time that he did. In response to Emmett saying his death was tragic, he responds "Hamlet" is tragic."
*In one of the final scenes of the
anime Cowboy Bebopthe last words on screen before the credits say "Goodnight Sweet Prince."
Sons of Anarchy" draws many character parallels to Hamlet.
* In the anime Code Geass Lelouch the protagonist apears reading Hamlet
*In the "
Onimusha" video gameseries, many of the Genma bosses are named after some of the characters in Hamlet: Fortinbrasis the Genma King, Rosencrantz Guildenstern is the evil genma scientist, Marcellusone of Guildenstern's greatest creations and a formidable foe for Samanosuke, Ophelia, Gertrude is the Genma hound dog, Guildenstern, Osric, Reynaldo(Sent to spy on Laertes) is also one of the names of one of Guildenstern's creations and a smaller genma you battle throughout the series and Marcellus, the first of Guildenstern's creations and the first boss in Onimusha I.
* In the video game , after defeating Nupraptor and obtaining his head, the player can examine it in their inventory. Doing so prompts the character Kain to remark "Alas, poor Nupraptor, I knew him well. Well... not really."
*In the video game Albedo has the quote "frailty thy name is woman!"
*In the video game
Martian Gothic, during the first cutscene, "MOOD" quotes the "bounded in a nutshell" line.
*In the video game
Castlevania, there is a skeleton which kicks his skull around called Yorick
*The ninth chapter of
James Joyce's "Ulysses", commonly referred to as Scylla and Charybdis, is almost entirely devoted to a rambling discourse by Stephen Daedalus on Shakespeare, centering around the character Hamlet. As a character predicts more or less accurately in the very first chapter, " [Daedalus] proves by algebra that Hamlet's grandson is Shakespeare's grandfather and that he himself is the ghost of his own father."
Gertrude and Claudius", a John Updikenovel, serves as a prequel to the events of the play. It follows Gertrude from her wedding to King Hamlet, through an affair with Claudius, and its murderous results, up until the very beginning of the play.
Dead Fathers Club", a novel by Matt Haig, uses intertextualityto retell the story of "Hamlet" from the point of view of an 11-year-old boy in modern England.
Anton Chekhovwrote a feuilletontitled "I am a Moscow Hamlet" (1891), the mutterings of a gossip-mongering actor who contemplates suicide out of sheer boredom.
Jasper Fforde's novel " Something Rotten" includes Hamlet - transplanted from the BookWorldinto reality - as a major character. This version of Hamlet frets about how audiences perceive him, complains about the performances of actors who have portrayed him, and at one point resolves to go back and change the play by killing Claudius in the beginning and marrying Ophelia.
Kurt Vonnegut's " God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" the protagonist, Eliot Rosewater, writes a letter to his wife while pretending to be Hamlet.
David Bergantino's novel "Hamlet II: Ophelia's Revenge", set in modern Denmark, portrays Ophelia rising from the dead to get revenge on Hamlet.
Nick O'Donohoe's 1989 science fiction novel "Too Too Solid Flesh" portrays a troupe of androidactors designed specifically to perform "Hamlet"; when the androids' designer is murdered, the Hamlet android decides to investigate.
Kyle Baker's 1996 graphic novel "The Cowboy Wally Show", Cowboy Wally's masterpiece is the film "Cowboy Wally's HAMLET", a modernized version produced in secret while Wally was in prison.
*In the short story
Much Ado About (Censored)by Connie Willis, a pair of high school students volunteer to help their teacher edit the play in a satire on political correctness.
Charles Dickens, at the beginning of " A Christmas Carol" makes reference to the play while explaining the absolute necessity of realizing the truth of Jacob Marley's being dead:::"If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot—say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance—literally to astonish his son's weak mind."
* "In The Halls Of Elsinore," a short story by
Brad C. Hodson, takes place in an Elsinore occupied by Fortinbras. Told from Horatio's point of view, the story is about a malignant presence that resides in Elsinore- the same presence that appeared to young Hamlet as his father.
* The line, "Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night," ends the second part of
T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land.
* T.S. Eliot's poem,
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, includes the line, "No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be".
Gerome Ragni & James Rado, and the creator of the music of HAIR, Galt MacDermot refer to Hamlet's speech on the complexity of the human being himself: "What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason..." For more info, refer to
At least 26 operas have been written based on Hamlet, including:
* Ambleto, by
* Ambleto, by
* Amleto, by
* Amleto, by
Franco Faccio(libretto by Arrigo Boito) (1865)
* Hamlet, by
* Hamlet, by
* Hamlet (?), by
Instrumental works based on Hamlet include:
Nocturnein G Minor, Op. 15 No. 3 by Frédéric Chopin, inspired by Hamlet
*"Hamlet" (1858), symphonic poem by
Franz Liszt(it later became " Flash Gordon's" theme tune.)
*"Hamlet" and "Ophelia", symphonic poems by
Fantasy Overture in F Minor, Op. 67 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Incidental musicfor a Russian stage production of the play, also by Tchaikovsky. This production used an edited version of the Fantasy Overture.
*"Hamlet", the score for the 1963 film, by
Sergei Prokofievalso wrote incidental music to the play.
Contemporary popular music includes:
Dream Theatersong " Pull Me Under" is influenced by, and makes reference to, "Hamlet".
* Arcturus' first album, "
Aspera Hiems Symfonia", makes reference to Hamlet's most famous soliloquy in the song "The Bodkin & The Quietus".
* The title track of the album Elsinore by Swedish musician
Björn Afzeliusis about a prince locked up in the castle of Elsinore.
* End Of All Hope, a song by Finnish metal band
Nightwish, contains the line "The rest is silence".
* Also by
Nightwish, the song Slaying the Dream makes mention to "primrose path" which is a quote of Ophelia's in Hamlet.
* Bands Flaming Youth takes its name from the text. Fact|date=February 2007
Elephant 6band name A Hawk and a Hacksawparaphrases Hamlet's '...I know a hawk from a handsaw'.
* Richard Thompson, British singer/songwriter, sings a live version of The Story Of Hamlet on "The Life And Music Of - CD 4 - The Songs Pour Down Like Silver". The interpretation is not terribly serious ("Like a hole in the head, Denmark needed that prince").
* The Birthday Party recorded a song called "Hamlet (Pow Pow Pow)" on the "Junkyard" album.
* On their tour for
Dance of Death (album), Iron Maidensinger Bruce Dickinsonquoted from the play: "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy." This he did right before the song Dance of Death.
4ADproject This Mortal Coiltake their name from the play.
Steampunkband Abney Park recorded a song entitled "Dear Ophelia", in which the vocalist sings as Prince Hamlet, and apologizes to Ophelia for all the things he had done, even telling the stoy of his father, who died when "his brother crept out, and poured poison in his ear"
* The play (as well as the Shakespearean canon as a whole) is frequently given as an example of a text which would be reproduced under the conditions of the
infinite monkey theorem.
* "Hamlet" is currently being adapted as a [http://stickfigurehamlet.com web comic] that uses stick figures.
* It exists in a fifteen-second, [http://15secondhamlet.org multimedia version] .
* Part of Act II, Scene ii of Hamlet is re-enacted by talking
catheads [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbK1eCt97ag here] .
* In the
Warcraft Universe, Illidan Stormrage's character appears to be loosely based on Hamlet. He is known to have gone mad (partly due to rejection from his love) and is depicted peering into a skull (a la Hamlet's soliloquy).
* HamLeT is also the term for a ham, lettuce, and tomato sandwich — like a BLT only with (Danish?) ham instead of bacon — which has inspired the doubtful [http://www.fiasco1.com/hamlet_sandwich.html HamLeT's Sandwich Soliloquy] .
In everyday English
See the main article at
Hamlet in common English. The play has contributed many phrases to common English, from the famous "To be, or not to be" to a few less known, but still in everyday English.
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