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By Isabel Smith-Bernstein

Hamlet, as a play, is a cipher. The text reflects our own humanity back to us, holding up to whatever themes or ideas we apply to it. We can find in Hamlet whatever we want to find when we arrive at the play in that particular moment.

Hamlet the character is similar. The Prince of Denmark can inhabit endless corners of humanity. He holds up to time.

Being human is difficult. Hamlet knows this, and therefore he’s on a search for authenticity throughout the play. Before the play begins, his mother betrays him by quickly forgetting his father and marrying his uncle. Hamlet knows that something is not right and the Ghost confirms this for him. Hamlet follows a desperate quest to find out the truth. In doing so he discovers his authentic self.

Hamlet has two allies in his quest for truth—Ophelia and Horatio. Other than those two, he is alone on a difficult journey. Who can Hamlet trust when so few are honest?

Utah Shakespeare Festival
Welcome to the Utah Shakespeare Festival. We hope you enjoy this Study Guide, but while you’re here you may want to explore the Festival a bit further. You can learn about this Tony Award-winning theatre, our plays, and so much more by visiting our home page.

What's On

The Taming of the Shrew

June 19 - September 7, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

Henry VIII

June 17 - September 5, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

Much Ado About Nothing

June 21 - October 5, 2024

Randall L. Jones Theatre

The Mountaintop

July 13 - October 5, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

The 39 Steps

June 22 - October 5, 2024

Randall L. Jones Theatre

The Winter's Tale

June 18 - September 6, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

Silent Sky

July 12 - October 5, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

© Utah Shakespeare Festival 2023 www.bard.org Cedar City, Utah