Hamlet has long been hailed for being one of the richest plays in terms of artistry. The elegance of its wordplay, including exquisite metaphors and figures of speech, is constantly acclaimed, and some phrases have even passed on to vulgar usage. Its striking images, including Hamlet talking to the skull and Ophelia’s corpse floating in the river, jump off the page and are lodged in people that have not even witnessed the play. Furthermore, it has the amazing ability to please both academic and common audiences alike, providing almost unsolvable character riddles for the first and action accompanied with intrigue for the latter. One could truly say that this play is enjoyable by all.
Another of the reasons that this work is so popular is that it taps in to an epoch that Western civilization has been living for almost four hundred years, modernism. Few could argue that there has ever been a person so famous for doubting than the eponymous main character of the play. The only person that comes to mind in the philosopher Rene Descartes, who, in his Discourse on the Method, proceeds to use this skepticism, indecision and hesitation to judge all knowledge and truth. These two contemporary individuals are immensely popular, as they represent modernism, especially its emphasis on rationality and knowledge. While contemporary times are essentially postmodern, it is a reaction against modernism that has still not been dispelled.
Nevertheless, the fact that there is so much analysis on the play could make some argue that it should not be taught. Indeed, if somebody wanted to analyze and enjoy the play, they could study and debate from many top-quality resources. The greatest critics in the world have discussed Hamlet given its status as one of the masterpieces of world literature. Furthermore, students that do not really want to do their work have it easy, as there are many commentaries from which to depart. However, the richness of the material benefits from in-class analysis and discussion. Many people could leave it in their lists of books to read, missing one of the most important works of all time.
In conclusion, Hamlet should still be taught in class. Its amazing artistry justifies its inclusion on the mere richness of the language it employs. Furthermore, the main character incarnates the main characteristics of modernism, its over-emphasis on rationalism and doubt. While some would argue that this play should not still be studied as there is already too much material on it, its exquisiteness justifies its inclusion. One does not see masterpieces like these produced often. However, we are greatly in debts when we find one, as its perception makes us greater as a culture and as individuals.