Do you think Hamlet is a problem play or a tragedy? Why?

Hamlet is a Shakespearean problem play that deals with the theme of madness. The protagonist feigns madness to make others believe he is harmless, but as he plans his revenge for his father’s death, he begins to lose touch with reality. Hamlet’s descent into madness reveals deeper issues that he is struggling with.


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Tragedy is a branch of drama characterized by sorrowful or terrible events encountered or caused by the main hero. However, Hamlet contains elements of a problem play, a genre that does not have a clear tragic or comedic tone. In problem plays, the characters often face complex issues that are not easily resolved.


Hamlet is also a revenge tragedy, a subgenre in which the main character seeks revenge. The theme of revenge is vividly represented in the play as Hamlet seeks to avenge his father’s murder by Claudius. However, Hamlet’s desire for revenge leads him to kill more people and ultimately results in his own death.


Hamlet’s madness is a central element of the play, and his descent into darkness is reflected in the moody setting of the play. Shakespeare emphasizes spiritual and emotional problems in the play without offering any clear resolution to them. Hamlet’s struggle to find the truth in a mire of delusion highlights the mental and moral issues that the play deals with.


In the end, Hamlet’s death symbolizes his inability to overcome his madness and uncertainty. The play does not provide any clear answers to the questions that torment Hamlet, making it closer to real life where there are no direct answers. Hamlet’s struggles with madness and uncertainty make the play a problem play rather than a tragedy.



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