LSCS Libraries | Research Guides | LSC-Kingwood Assignment Guides |

Hamlet by William Shakespeare - LSC Kingwood

Hamlet and Horatio at the Cemetary by Delacroix, Musee du Louvre, Paris


Assignment Guide


William Shakespeare
(1564 - 1616)

First published circa 1601-1602, Hamlet was called "a milestone in Shakespeare's dramatic development.  According to most critics, the playwright achieved artistic maturity in this work through his brilliant depiction of the hero's struggle with two opposing forces:  moral integrity and the need to avenge his father's murder."

Mark W. Scott, ed. Shakespeare for Students. Introduction.



"Hamlet is one of the central works of modern European culture, probably thought and written about more than any other play. In a comprehensive sense it is by now William Shakespeare's text plus its world-wide reverberations through centuries of theatrical interpretation, critical analysis, and reshaping by other creative authors--a vast body of 'commentary' ranging from pious exegesis to malicious mockery. Hamlet's intensity and complexity evoke seemingly infinite responses which say as much about their authors and periods as about the play."                                          Holger Klein. "Hamlet: Overview." Reference Guide to English Literature. 2nd ed.  Ed. D. L. Kirkpatrick 


  • Hamlet - Prince of Denmark. King Hamlet's son and Claudius's nephew
  • Ghost - King Hamlet's spirit instructs Hamlet to avenge his murder
  • Claudius - Hamlet's uncle who murders his brother and marries his queen, Gertrude.
  • Gertrude - Queen of Denmark Polonius - Claudius's chief counselor
  • Ophelia - Polonius's daughter
  • Laertes - Polonius's son who avenges his father's accidental death by Hamlet
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern - two of Hamlet's school friends asked to find out about Hamlet's madness by Claudius and Gertrude


Look at the list of books below for topics or thesis statement ideas.  Many more books on Shakespeare and Hamlet can be found by searching the LSC Kingwood Library online Catalog. Use Hamlet or Shakespeare as subject keywords. Online full text books containing Shakespeare criticism are available through the eBook Collection (see below for more information).  


Librarian Talk . . .  About Books!
  • Books offer helpful information about time periods, authors and the literary works. Use them to help begin your review of literature on Hamlet .
  • Your LSC Student ID is also your library card (on the back). If you are unable to come to campus, you can apply online for a library card. Use your card to 1) Place a Hold on a book and have it sent to the library closest to you  2) Access journal and reference databases from home, and 3) Access Online Book Database (eBook Collection).
  • The catalog is online.
  • Online books (database paid for by our libraries) are available in the eBook Collection.  Use the barcode number from your Lone Star College ID or library card to log in.  Create a free account to save favorite titles or your own notes on the books you read.
More about...Finding Books (31 sec.)

 Reference Books:  A good way to read an overview and background information on the play, the time period in which it was written, and the author.

  • PN50 .L574, v.1 - Literature and Its Times. Place the play in the historic setting.  Gives readers an idea of Shakespeare's England.
  • PR 2892 .O56 - All Things Shakespeare: an encyclopedia of Shakespeare's world.  Detailed information on the time period.
  • PR 2987.S47 - Shakespeare for Students Helpful for understanding the language, plot, major themes and more about Hamlet.
  • PR2989 .S53 - Shakespeare's Characters for Students. Helpful for learning more about the characters.

Circulating Books: These books go into more detail and offer critical analysis of the play.

  • PR 2807.H2657 -  Hamlet: New critical essays. 
  • PR 2899.K65 -  Some Shakespearean Themes & An approach to 'Hamlet' 
  • PR2992.D38 H36 - Shakespeare's Daughters
  • eBook Collection- This database of full text online books contains criticism and analysis on Hamlet and Shakespeare.

An excellent full production of Hamlet by the Royal Shakespeare Company is available to watch in the database, Films on Demand.  If you are off campus, you will need to login to the database to watch the video. 

Journal Articles

Databases are electronic resources for finding articles from journals, magazines and newspapers. The databases listed below contain scholarly articles discussing Hamlet.

Librarian Talk . . . About Finding Journal and Newspaper Articles!

Electronic databases are purchased by the libraries for your research use. To find articles in newspapers and journals, letters, reference books, illustrations, photographs and more, use your updated library card to login to the following databases. If you find an interesting article that is not full-text, email the correct bibliographic information to one of the Reference Librarians and they will help you get the article. They will need full bibliographic information - and your name and address. Send your phone number as well, so they can contact you if they need to. There is some overlap of articles in the following databases. However, we encourage you to use more than one. All are excellent sources for this topic. 

HINT: For a full list of databases, go to Research Databases and use the barcode number from your LSC ID or library card for login.

More about searching databases (25 sec.)

  • Project MUSE - This database and JSTOR are completely full text and scholarly.  They are both large databases, so use keywords from your thesis to focus your results list. Use the Advanced search page for the best articles.  Put keywords in separate search boxes and add rows for additional search terms.  Limit your search to Articles Only (no Reviews) and choose Literature from the Disciplines list to focus your search.
  • JSTOR Arts & Sciences - Use the advanced search page and enter a search as above for ProjectMuse.  Limit your results to Articles and select Language and Literature from the disciplines list to focus your results. 
  • Academic Search Complete  - This multi-subject database contains many articles which analyze Shakespeare's Hamlet.  To retrieve scholarly journal articles, enter "Hamlet and Shakespeare" and limit your results to Scholarly (peer reviewed) Journals.   If an article is not full text in this database, it may be available full text in ProjectMuse or  JSTOR.
  • Bloom's Literary Reference Online  This database is a collection of many analytical essays discussing literature.  These essays, originally published in print form, are accessible now for research online. Find information about Hamlet, or read about William Shakeseare's life and his entire body of work.
  • Literature Resource Center - Search by title to find information on Hamlet.  The database contains overviews, background information on Shakespeare, and full text articles from reference books,Twayne's Masterworks books, and journal articles, some full text and some excerpted.   The critical essays are scholarly articles discussing the play. 


Librarian Talk about the Internet!

The internet can be a wonderful source of original documents. Browse the sites we have suggested below. Remember, you DO want to find reputable sites. Evaluate for:

  • Accuracy - The information should be researched and show proof of that research. 
  • Source - Look at the domain:  .edu   .gov   .org  .net are valid research sources. Your company's website is also a valuable resource.
  • Authority - What are the author's credentials? (Don't quote from another college freshman's paper.)
  • Coverage - Does the page have the information you need for your research?
  • Objectivity - If a work is biased, use it - just make sure your professor knows YOU know. Offer both sides of issues, where applicable. 
More about finding internet sources (25 sec.)

There are many websites discussing Hamlet.  Ask your professor if you are uncertain about using a particular site. To find educational sites, add "inurl:edu" to your search terms.

  • Hamlet  by Act and scene | MIT presents the whole play, by act and scene number.  A good way to find specific quotes you want for your paper.
  • Hamlet by Shakespeare | from the British Library.  Includes images of some of the earliest print copies of the play.
  • Hamlet | from the Folger Shakespeare Library, located in Washington D.C. The Folger is a world-renowned research center on Shakespeare and on the early modern age in the West.

SUPPORT: Getting help with your assignment

Librarian Talk about getting help!

Support for a successful paper is more than finding the right resources. Putting it all together takes time and effort. Sometimes it takes additional help from the librarians or tutors. Please consider the following resources if you need additional help. Remember, the expert on the assignment is your professor; use the eCollege VISTA in-class email to contact her.

More about getting help (25 sec.)

Citing Sources Using MLA Style | Lone Star College-Kingwood Library guide. Examples of both paper and electronic citations.

Avoiding Plagiarism  |   Excellent information and guide on how to avoid plagiarism from the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University.

University of Texas Copyright Crash Course | This helpful guide on copyright is suggested by Lone Star College-Kingwood Teaching and Learning Center.

The Learning Center   |   Check the TLC hours for in-house tutoring.

Page by Claire Gunnels 3/25/03. Checked 6/5/2012 SM/JFR 

Ask Us
Reference: 281.312.1693
Circulation: 281.312.1691


LSC-Kingwood Library Assignment Guides  | About LSC-Kingwood Library | LSCS Libraries
preload menu background image