In Numbers: Hamlet

The melancholy Prince of Denmark arrives at Holden Street Theatres for 15 minute performances. Time to start counting

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Hamlet by Eugène Delacroix | The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Met Museum Public Domain Artworks
Published 06 Feb 2024

1: Ghost. 

2: The setting of Elsinore Castle is a place where "everything seems double"; doubling is a recurring motif in the play.

3: "Words, words, words." Scholarly Hamlet's 'mad' reply when asked what he's been reading. Try it at your next book group. 

4: Hours Hamlet spends walking around depressed in the lobby, according to his girlfriend's dad.

7: Soliloquies (although "To be, or not to be" may not be a soliloquy at all, if Hamlet is intending to be overheard as part of his revenge plan).

8: Deaths. Not including Hamlet's dad – he's already a ghost. 

20: Scenes.

25: Percentage of the play written in prose.

30: Hamlet's age.

75: Percentage of the play written in verse.

242: The run time in minutes of Kenneth Branagh's 1996 film; the gigantic length is proportional to the thespian's ego.

341: The number of speeches Hamlet gives, approximately 37% of the play.

1000: "natural shocks that flesh is heir to".

1599: The year the play was probably written. A peak year for Shakespeare who may have written As You Like It, Julius Caesar and Henry V during the same period.

∞: Number of jokes Yorick has at his disposal when he wasn't a skull in a graveyard. "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him... a fellow of infinite jest."


Hamlet in 15 Minutes, Holden Street Theatres, until 17 March