Undergraduate course work

The suggested research assignments are ordered by search fields. Many questions imply the possibility of researching and contributing new entries.


How do individual authors use Hamlet when writing in different genres? Compare, for example, Dickens' or Byron's references in their letters to those in the novels or poems. Does an individual author refer to favourite characters or passages more frequently than others? How do individual authors preferably signal quotations? Do they use quotation marks or comments such as "As the Bard says"?

Genre and Subject

For examples, see our list of publications, which includes papers and theses from the Department of English at the University of Basel. How (and which) Hamlet references are used in nonfiction texts, e.g. in the sciences? How is Hamlet used by philosophers, in political texts, in advertising? How are Hamlet phrases used in journalism? How are they changed to suit this type of language? How and where do certain phrases turn up in dictionaries? How are Shakespeare/Hamlet references used in film (in a given period)?

Motif and Name

How is Ophelia's death represented in various genres and periods? (Other examples: Yorick's skull, the play-within-the-play scene, the ghost scenes.)


How is Hamlet used in Star Trek, Ulysses, Wilhelm Meister…? Is there a wider Hamlet or Shakespeare context which is supported by a network of quotations?


What is typical of Hamlet references from the 1960s, the 1990s, the first fifty years after the play was written...?

Intertextual relation

How are quotations modified in parodic texts and other adaptations?

Browsing: Lines

What has the fate of "slings and arrows" been in different periods and genres? Who plays around with it, who uses it seriously? What are the characteristics that make certain phrases particularly quotable? Does pun potential matter? How have Hamlet quotations in a famous later texts fared in translation? Does the original context play any kind of role in quotation? Does the sentence "Something is rotten in the State of Denmark", for example, also occur outside contexts of political corruption? What new topics are established?


What are earlier instances of a particular phrase or metaphor? Many expressions in Hamlet are based on proverbs or clichés which were generally current in Shakespeare's time, on the Bible or on other earlier texts.