The historical dates intended by the author are uncertain, with some sources opting for an earlier, more Romantic era as the setting of the tragedy, namely at the height of the Viking era, or during the period of greatest Viking political expansion around the turn of the millennium. Then, though the castle might be imagined as rude, the characters might be fully Romanticized, with Hamlet's flowing blonde hair contained in a horned helmet, while his biceps and strong shoulders glisten beneath a full-length cloak of chain-mail armor.
However, casting directors, scene directors and theatrical designers have, for the most part chosen a motif suitable to the major European urban centers of the 16th century, making Hamlet more of a precocious commentary on the decadence of the European ruling classes, a theme which would eventually become a movement in the 19th century. This artistic impulse reflected the end of Catholic idealism in France, and the onset of Materialism in Italy, Spain, England and Germany. There would arise subsequent movements to counter the Decadents, some having their roots in stark Nationalistic yearnings. Some of these counter-decadents would draw on the icons of Nordic literature and myth for their energy, once more reinfusing the drama of Hamlet with theatrical energy.
In their choice of garment and style, the "Renaissance" Hamlettians are supported by the fact that Hamlet's castle-home, was built around 1420, while the University of Wittenberg, Hamlet's alma mater, was not founded until 1502.
Points of InterestEdit
Perhaps the tributes mentioned by Claudius, and which he is ostensibly sending Hamlet to England after, have "been neglected" for a much greater period then makes any real sense, and the statement is intended to draw a laugh from the audience, an attempt to place a kind of verbal fool's cap squarely on the young man's head.
The references to the French is also an allusion to those Danish Vikings who took up residence in France when the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles the Simple, exchanged that right for their entering into the defense of Paris against oncoming raiders. The descendants of these would, after conquering England, and then Ireland, play a vital part in the growth of Great Britain as a seapower, as well as give their law and language to the country in varying parts and degrees over the centuries.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, is a highly politicized tragedy with some overt sexual references, much violence, treachery, suspicion and talk of revenge, and probably suitable for mature High School and College students. Though some may initially perceive humor in the young protagonist's plight, the sad and fatal outcome is likely to darken even the most optimistic outlook.