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Hamlet is one of the best-known works of William Shakespeare. The plot follows the titular Prince of Denmark and his quest to avenge his father's murder.
There have been countless theatrical and film versions of the play, starring some of the world's best actors. Some of the most popular are the 1948 film starring Laurence Olivier, the 1990 film starring Mel Gibson, the 1996 film directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh, the 2009 made-for-TV film with David Tennant, and most recently the National Theatre's staged production starring fan fave Benedict Cumberbatch. Other fandom favorites who have played the iconic role include Christopher Eccleston, Ian McKellen, Jude Law, and Ben Whishaw.
Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead has its own following.
Hamlet fanfiction is among the most common based on a Shakespearean source, and is extremely varied. There are works set during the era of the play, works drawing on the play's earlier sources, other historical eras, modern settings (coffee shop AUs, blogs...), sf settings (robots, space AUs...), ghost stories, genderswapping and others. A request by Gileonnen for Lovecraftian crossovers in Yuletide 2011 generated several popular responses and became a trope.
Works can be found in the Shakespeare section of ff.net, the earliest posted in 2001. Works commonly appeared in the rarelitslash livejournal community, the earliest in 2004, and more rarely on bardslash. The fandom has been a Yuletide staple since 2005.
Hamlet/Horatio, also called Tragic Danish Boyfriends, is the most common m/m slash pairing; Hamlet is also sometimes paired with Laertes. Guildenstern/Rosencrantz is another common pairing. In m/f, there's some Hamlet/Ophelia, often tragic, as well as a little Gertrude/Claudius. Ophelia also features in a little f/f, which usually manages to give her a happier ending, sometimes involving a crossover with other Shakespeare plays (Juliet, Titania...).
- The Arithmetic of Memory, by Assimbya. Widely recommended example of Hamlet/Horatio, written for Yuletide 2008
- The Lamentable Comedy of Severus, Half-Blood Prince of Denmark by A T Rain. HP crossover comedy in which Snape substitutes for Rosencrantz and fixes the play (2008–9)
- Rosemary for Remembrance, by Gehayi. Space AU, written for Yuletide 2010
- Chiaroscuro by acrossthefloors. Lovecraftian horror, one of several works exploring this idea written for Yuletide 2011
- The Undiscovered Country by indigostohelit. A Hamlet/Horatio fic set in 1950s Chicago
- Photoset of famous Hamlets by angelophile (December 8, 2015)
- The Hamlet Multiverse by arrantknave (January 3, 2019). Fanart featuring various Tumblr fanartists' Hamlet headcanons