Essay Hamlet: Shakespeare's Plagiarism of The Spanish Tragedy

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Some say that the essence of the present resides in the past. Hamlet, Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, as many great works, draws its deepest roots and ideas from past masterpieces. But how has Hamlet borrowed from other texts ; and with what effect ? In particular, Shakespeare borrowed the plot elements, the concept of the revenge tragedy and the character traits from Thomas Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy.

First of all, this essay will discuss what plot elements, such as the play within the play and the genre of the revenge play that have been borrowed from Thomas Kyd’s works, notably The SpanishTragedy. The play within a play has been used for a long time in stories ; scholars have traced it’s use back to the Arabic, Persian and Indian
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Hamlet is not only the traditional revenge play, it’s a combination of two revenge tragedies were both heros seek to avenge their father’s murder. The main plot reveals the events leading from the revelation of his father death by his ghost to the murder of Claudius while in a subplot Leartes is used to kill Hamlet for the death of Polonius. This develops the strength of drama through which such a wide rang of ideas that can be conveyed. From the inspiration that he got through Kyd’s play, Shakespeare was able to write a piece that would please all education levels and bypass all cultural boundaries. He was able to create jokes, such as sexual puns that would please the lower classes and wordy formulations that would be highly regarded by the educated. These elements enable us to see how powerful and influential tragedies can be for it was the play within the play that gave Hamlet the certainty of Claudius’ guilt and it is the revenge play that enables us to see the flaws in our society so me may resolve them.

Furthermore, this essay will examine specific ways that Shakespeare borrowed character traits, such as Hamlet’s feigned madness which is portrayed through the «hero-as-fool». Although this idea was adopted from Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy its origins go far back to the beginning of Indo-European literature while the feigned madness was a popular theme in Icelandic and Viking

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