"''The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark"'' is a tragedy by William Shakespeare and is one of his best-known and most quoted plays. It was written at an uncertain date between 1600 and the summer of 1602.
''Hamlet'' may be the most frequently produced work in almost every western country, and it is considered a crucial test for mature actors. Hamlet's "To be, or not to be" soliloquy (Act Three, Scene One), the most popular passage in the play, is so well known that it has become a stumbling-block for many modern actors.
''Hamlet'' is one of the world's most famous literary works, and has been translated into every major living language.
Shakespeare's main source, however, is believed to be an earlier play about Hamlet (known as the ''Ur-Hamlet''), which is attributed to Thomas Kyd and is known to have introduced a ghost to the story. The 'Ur-''Hamlet" was never printed, and is now lost. However, it was praised in print in Thomas Nashe's preface to Robert Greene's ''Menaphon'' as early as 1589. It made the phrase "Hamlet, revenge!" (which does not appear in Shakespeare's play) famous. While the Ur-''Hamlet'' is usually assumed to have been written by Kyd,...