Gesta Danorum - Hamlet

Certain aspects of Gesta Danorum formed the basis for William Shakespeare's play, Hamlet. It is thought that Shakespeare never read Gesta Danorum, and instead had access to an auxiliary version of the tale describing the downfall of the Prince of Denmark, whose real name - Amleth - was used in anagram by Shakespeare for Hamlet.

Saxo’s version, told of in Book 3 and 4, is very similar to that of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In Saxo's version, two brothers, Orvendil and Fengi are given the rule over Jutland by King Rørik Slyngebond of the Danes. Soon after, Orvendil marries King Rørik’s daughter, Geruth (Gertrude in Hamlet). Amleth is their first and only child.

Fengi becomes resentful of his brother’s marriage, and also wants sole leadership of Jutland, so therefore murders Orvendil. After a very brief period of mourning, Fengi marries Geruth, and declares himself sole leader of Jutland. Eventually, Amleth avenges his father’s murder and plans the murder of his uncle, making him the new and rightful king of Jutland. However, while Hamlet dies in Shakespeare's version just after his uncle's death, in Saxo's version Amleth survives and begins ruling his kingdom, going on to other adventures.

Read more about this topic:  Gesta Danorum

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Famous quotes containing the word hamlet:

    Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother’s death
    The memory be green.
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)