Hamlet is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, probably written between
1599 and 1601. Set in Denmark, the play tells how Prince Hamlet exacts
revenge on his uncle for murdering the previous king, Hamlet's father.
Hamlet's uncle has since stolen the throne and taken Hamlet's mother,
the dead king's widow, as his wife. The play vividly charts the course
of real and feigned madness—from overwhelming grief to seething
rage—and explores themes of treachery, incest, and moral corruption.
Despite much literary detective work, the exact year of writing
remains in dispute. Three different early versions of the play
survived, which are known as the First Quarto, the Second Quarto, and
the First Folio. Each has lines, and even scenes, that are missing
from the others. Shakespeare probably based Hamlet on an Indo-European
legend—preserved by a 13th-century chronicler, and retold by a
16th-century scholar—and a lost Elizabethan play known today as the
Ur-Hamlet. The play's dramatic structure and Shakespeare's depth of
characterisation mean that Hamlet can be analysed and interpreted—and
argued about—from many perspectives. Hamlet is by far Shakespeare's
longest play, and among the most powerful and influential tragedies in
the English language. The title role was almost certainly created for
Richard Burbage, the leading tragedian of Shakespeare's time; in the
four hundred years since, it has been played by the greatest actors,
and sometimes actresses, of each successive age.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Pope Clement VI issued the papal bull Unigenitus to justify the
power of the pope and the use of indulgences.
Two weeks after a group of over thirty explorers and scientists met
in Washington, D.C. to organize "a society for the increase and
diffusion of geographical knowledge," the National Geographic Society,
publisher of the National Geographic Magazine, was incorporated.
The Soviet Red Army liberated over 7,500 prisoners left behind by
Nazi personnel in the Auschwitz concentration camp (entrance pictured)
in Oświęcim, Poland.
The Apollo 1 spacecraft was destroyed by fire at the Kennedy Space
Center in Florida, killing astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and
The Paris Peace Accords were signed in Paris, temporarily ending the
Vietnam War with a ceasefire. North Vietnam would later violate the
treaty one year later when it attacked South Vietnam on December 13
Wiktionary's Word of the day:
autological: (grammar) Of a adjective, describing itself.
Wikiquote of the day:
"In that direction," the Cat said, waving its right paw round, "lives
a Hatter: and in that direction," waving the other paw, "lives a March
Hare. Visit either you like: they're both mad." "But I don't want to
go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can't help that,"
the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." "How do
I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you
have come here." -- Lewis Carroll in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland