This question is a follow-up to How has knowledge of the Ur-Hamlet evolved over the centuries? in which we learned about how it first came to be postulated that Shakespeare's Hamlet was based on an earlier story of the same name by a different writer. Another question naturally arising out of this is, given the assumption that there was an Ur-Hamlet, whose text is now lost, what can be deduced or at least solidly guessed about its content? Even though the text itself is lost, references to it remain in other pieces of literature, and perhaps there's more evidence to be found in other Hamlet-like stories from around the same time. I don't need certain proof, but clear evidence based on serious studies would be good, not just pure guesswork.

  • I'm not sure much more can be added to that earlier answer. We know an Ur-Hamlet existed -- it provided S. access to a story not otherwise known to have existed in English. (He is alleged to have known "little Latin & less Greek".) We also know many plays from that period either never were published or all copies of their published versions have been lost. Beyond that is IMHO much speculation, some of which is less convincing or insightful than others.
    – llywrch
    Feb 22, 2021 at 16:44
  • Some people think that the German play Der Bestrafte Brudemord is based on the Ur-Hamlet. But if it is, it was performed for over a century before it was written down, and undoubtedly differs considerably from the original version.
    – Peter Shor
    Feb 27, 2021 at 17:59


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