The American actor Edwin Booth as Hamlet, c.1870.

哈姆雷特》(Hamlet)係莎士比亞嘅一齣悲劇復仇劇en:revenge play);係莎士比亞最出名嘅作品之一,亦係英文中最常被引用嘅文本之一[1]。《哈武雷特》曾俾人話係「莎士比亞最偉大嘅戲」[2],例牌出現響各「世界最偉大嘅書」嘅名單[3]。由製作次數(number of productions)亦睇到,渠亦係莎記最受歡迎嘅戲之一:例如,「 it has topped the list at the Royal Shakespeare Company since 1879。」[4]。《哈姆雷特》有4,042 行 29,551 字,係最長嘅莎士比亞劇[5]


想知多啲:Hamlet (legend)
A facsimile of Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum, which contains the legend of Amleth.

王子密謀今王佢呀叔,報殺先王佢老豆之仇,係段好舊嘅故仔。段故入面好多元素——扮癲,佢呀媽同篡位者擒擒青結婚,借個女仔來試 Hamlet 真癡定假痴,王子同佢呀媽傾計、殺咗個探子,王子被兩條友(two retainers)押去英倫但又轉嫁咗佢自己要受嘅刑畀嗰兩條友——全都出現響中世紀大約1200年Saxo Grammaticus寫嘅一段故仔,叫Vita Amlethi(係渠部拉丁文作品Gesta Danorum嘅一部分)。阿 Saxo 嘅著作受來自好幾種文化、更古老嘅文字同口講傳統嘅影響。 「Amleth」,即係呢個版本入面嘅哈姆雷特,可能來自一個口講傳勻丹麥同埋成個 Scandinavia 嘅故仔;有學者揾到冰島嘅傳說都有提過下佢。雖然呢個故仔嘅冰島版而家無咗,但1636年出世嘅早期冰島學者 Torfaeus 描述過佢同冰島故仔「Amloi」同埋西班牙故仔Ambales Saga 嘅平行之處。呢個故仔似莎士比亞筆下《哈姆雷特》嘅地方有:Ambales 王子扮癡、喺佢阿媽間房誤殺個王個顧問(counselour)、同埋最後殺佢阿叔(uncle)。[6]

最公認可能影響咗 Saxo 嘅兩件文字作品,係斯堪的納維亞無名氏作嘅 Saga of Hrolf Kraki 同埋兩份拉丁文作品入便嘅羅馬 Brutus 傳說。 喺 Hrolf Kraki,被謀殺個王有兩個仔:Hroar 同 Helgi,後來改名叫 Ham 同 Hrani 來匿埋。佢地spend most of their story in hiding, rather than feigning madness, though Ham does behave in a childlike manner to avoid suspicion at one point. The sequence of events is different from Shakespeare's as well. The Roman story of Brutus focuses on feigned madness, as a man named Lucius changes his name to Brutus ("dull, stupid") and enacts the part in order to avoid the fate of his father and brothers. He eventually slays his family's killer, King Tarquinus. Saxo seems to have been influenced at least in part by both of these stories. Saxo, along with writing in the Latin language of the Romans, adjusted the story to meet Roman, classical concepts of pagan virtue and heroism. Scholars have speculated about the Hero as Fool story's ultimate source, but no clear candidate has been proposed. Given the many different cultures from which Hamlet-like legends come from (Roman, Spanish, Scandinavian and Arabic), a few have guessed that the story may be generally Indo-European in origin.[6]

The Spanish Tragedy, by Thomas Kyd. This play may have influenced Hamlet. Its author may have also written the Ur-Hamlet.

A reasonably accurate version of Saxo was rendered into French in 1570 by François de Belleforest in his Histoires Tragiques.[7] Belleforest embellished Saxo's text incredibly, nearly doubling the total prose. His version added descriptions of the hero's melancholy.[6] Shakespeare's main source, however, is believed to be an earlier play—now lost—known as the Ur-Hamlet. Possibly written by Thomas Kyd, this earlier Hamlet play was in performance by 1589, and seems to have introduced a ghost for the first time into the story.[8] Shakespeare's playing company, the Chamberlain's Men, purchased the play and performed a version reworked by Shakespeare for some time.[6] However, scholars are unable to assert with any confidence how much Shakespeare took from this play, how much from Belleforest or Saxo, and how much from other contemporary sources (such as Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy). There is no evidence clearly pointing to Shakespeare's directly referring to Saxo, although the Latin text was widely available at the time. There are, however, elements of Belleforest's version which are in Shakespeare's play but not in Saxo's. Whether Shakespeare picked these up directly from Belleforest, or through the Ur-Hamlet, remains unclear. One scholar, Eric Sams, in a less-popular theory supported by Harold Bloom, has advanced the notion that Shakespeare himself wrote the Ur-Hamlet as an early draft.[9] The idea that Hamlet is in any way connected with Shakespeare's only son, Hamnet Shakespeare, who died at age eleven, has been debunked by scholars. Hamlet is too obviously connected to legend, and the name Hamnet was actually quite popular at the time, making the connection far from unique.[6]

Since all texts of the Ur-Hamlet have been lost, it is difficult to determine what Shakespeare's Hamlet borrowed from Saxo and Belleforest, and what he took from Ur-Hamlet. It is clear, though that several things did change somewhere between Belleforest and Shakespeare. For one, unlike Saxo and Belleforest, Shakespeare's play has no all-knowing narrator. The audience must draw its own conclusions about characters' motives. Also, the traditional story encompasses several years, while Shakespeare's covers a few weeks. Belleforest's version details Hamlet's plan for revenge, while in Shakespeare's play, Hamlet has no apparent plan. Shakespeare also added some elements placing the setting in 十五世纪, Christian Denmark, rather than a pagan, medieval one. Elsinore, for example, would have been familiar to Elizabethan England, as a new castle had recently been built there, and Wittenburg, Hamlet's University, was widely known for its Protestant teachings.[6] Other elements of Shakespeare's Hamlet not found in medieval versions include the secrecy of the King's murder, the inclusion of Laertes and Fortinbras as parallels of Hamlet, Hamlet 用場戲來試 Claudius, and the Hamlet's death in gaining his tragic revenge.[10][11]


  1. 'Oxford Dictionary of QuotationsHamlet 有208次引用;響 1986年版 Bartlett's Familiar Quotations(14th ed. 1968)畀莎記嗰85頁中佔咗10頁
  2. "Shakespeare's greatest play", 例如 Professor James Shapiro,渠寫過 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare
  3. 例如 Harvard Classics, Great Books, Great Books of the Western World, Harold Bloom's The Western Canon, St. John's College reading list, Columbia College Core Curriculum
  4. (Crystal, 2005, p.66)
  5. 基於The Riverside Shakespeare (1974), 第一版
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Saxo 同埋 William Hansen: Saxo Grammaticus & the Life of Hamlet. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983. ISBN 0-8032-2318-8
  7. Edwards, pp. 1-2
  8. Jenkins, pp. 82-5
  9. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human and Hamlet: Poem Unlimited
  10. Edwards, p.2
  11. see Jenkins, pp. 82-122 for a complex discussion of all sorts of possible influences that found their way into the play.