Written and released around 1600-1601, this tragedy in five acts in verse and prose of William Shakespeare has come to us in several editions: the "fourth" of1603, or first "fourth", "the fourth "1604, or second" fourth ", the" folio "of 1623. The second "fourth" represent the original text of the drama, which the other texts derivegreater or lesser extent.
Hamlet's story was told by Saxo Grammaticus in the Gesta of the Danes (Books III and IV, chaps. 86-106), from the early thirteenth century. Hecame to Shakespeare through Tragique Histoires de F. Belleforest and lost a play, which probably appeared on the scene in 1587 or 1589. There are some major differencesBelleforest narration and Shakespearean drama: the story of French, Hamlet knows from the beginning how his father died, so his feigned madness is a great justification, onthe other hand, does not die in compliance of his vengeance and is able to act forcefully in the moment.
One can imagine that some of the new elements were introduced bythe tragedy preshakesperiana designated by critics, with German prefix Ur-Hamlet, or Hamlet primitive "and the protagonist's death, the specter of the father, the scene ofdrama within the drama and the final duel with Laertes, elements that suggest Thomas Kyd (1558-1594) as author. Probably in the tragedy Hamlet was an avengerpreshakesperiana aggressive, but to retrain the scene the ancient tragedy, Shakespeare gave the character the melancholy, which became fashionable in the early seventeenth century tojustify the delay of vengeance and the center of the drama moved from the machinations of Claudius to the reactions in the mind of "melancholy" and pessimistic Hamlet.