Shakespeare finds plot lines in many other sources. Hamlet came from the Amleth of Saxo Grammaticus, or later other sources referring to Saxo. Saxo who wrote 'chronicles' of Danish "history". In Saxo, Hamlet, or Amleth, was by specific reference from Jutland.
Hamlet, if he was from Jutland, was a Jute.
A Jutish person. Jutland. Jute tribe. See their role, and participation in invasion of Great Britain along with the Angles and Saxons, at http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A22550753.
Shakespeare never sited his castle, except to say "Denmark," (is that so? still looking). That seeming clear, see below, it is time to move the ersatz Hamlet grave stone (hokey) to Jutland, somewhere. Where? So far, we vote for Sonderborg, Jutland, Denmark,
If this is so, despite popular hearsay support for Kronborg Castle in Zealand, Denmark, being "the castle", we must move Hamlet's commemorative stone. Get the van and take it from the so-called Hamlet's Grove, Helsingor, Zealand; near Kronborg. We must move it to somewhere in Jutland. But where?
Where on Jutland shall we take it?
- First, why must we move it?
Kronborg, or Elsinore, on Zealand, was not the setting for the "real" Hamlet of Shakespeare. It is only said that Kronborg Castle inspired a setting for Shakespeare's Hamlet, as it was an admired Renaissance construction-du-jour, see http://www.guide-to-castles-of-europe.com/kronborg-castle.html.
We are looking for any evidence that Shakespeare actually had Kronborg in mind. Let us know if you find it. Kronborg was insignificant in location. It was built in 1420 as a small fort for tolls on the Oresund (Sweden was just across by a few miles), then expanded in the late 1500's to be glamorous, by Frederik II. There was no prior history of a "castle" on the Kronborg site at the time that Hamlet was sited, as far as we can find.
Outside the box. Sonderborg site.
Why is it not equally feasible that Shakespeare used Sonderborg Castle, which is actually on Jutland, as Saxo provided, as his inspiration.
No one minds representing Kronborg as inspiring Shakespeare, because that is what tourism does. But where is the information. Look for any documentation that Shakespeare himself thought "Kronborg." With that failing (will it?) can we also let the tourist industry say that our Hamlet is indeed here, buried, as well?
Hamlet's grove. For the gullible.
- Second, we need to move it because the earliest sources are far from Denmark.
- The earliest sources appear to be Icelandic Sagas, with mythical elements.
- That leaves the issue: Why site Hamlet at Kronborg. Site it in Jutland, somewhere, and so far the best candidate, for location, strategy, royalty, intrigue, is Valdemar II's Sonderborg site.
1. Hamlet for Shakespeare, if he read Saxo (as he appears to have done, to get the story and crib it) had to know that the events were sited by Saxo in Jutland.
The original Hamlet story (the story farthest back we can find, that does not mean historical actual single figure, is an Amleth figure), puts a similar story in Icelandic sagas, and mythological.
So despite the humanity in the events, responses, interactions: there was probably no specific Hamlet for Saxo and then Shakespeare. Rather, perhaps a conglomeration, cultural baloney if you will, happened, as best its events can be referenced, but in Jutland as to Saxo, not Zealand as to the tourist industry. See http://denmarkroadways.blogspot.com/2010/09/sonderborg-jutlands-last-stand-castle.html
There are also events between Kings and marriages and events in Britain, Scotland, Germany areas in the Hamlet story, and a range of events far exceeding and differing from the Shakespeare focus, but it was Jutland for the main events of the story. See
- Saxo Grammaticus, The Nine Books of the Danish History, now a google book at http://books.google.com/books?id=0oipKqT9UDwC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
- D. L. Ashliman, Amleth Prince of Denmark, a narrative translation-interpretation at http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/amleth.html
"On reaching Jutland, he (Amleth or Hamlet) exchanged is present attire for his ancient demeanor, which he had adopted for righteous ends, purposely assuming an aspect of absurdity."
The same reference to Jutland is found in the Ashliman translation, so we did a "find" thereafter and found other examples. Jutland. But a "find" cannot be done easily in the Saxo, so will wait to specifically find each of these from the Ashliman:
b. Ashliman. King Wiglek, who succeeded King Rorik over all Denmark, accused Hamlet of usurping the Kingdom of Jutland.
c. Ashliman. Eventually Wiglek slays Amleth in battle in Jutland
d. Ashliman. And "a plain in Jutland is to be found, famous for his name and burial place."
2. When in Jutland, for the inspiration of Shakespeare and corroboration for Saxo?
Look for a historical fortress-siege-castle-site, that evolved over time from Hamlet's era. What is the year of Amleth? The story did not originate with Saxo with his writing in 1185.
Look back to Icelandic Sagas, 900 or so? See http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Hamlet
There are more primordial resemblances back to early civilizations, see a 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, at http://books.google.com/books?id=GFAEAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA895&lpg=PA895&dq=Amleth+Icelandic+saga&source=bl&ots=2IC2BbbTwH&sig=IfPcNdnDUlaiocJYLgvaMjndGYg&hl=en&ei=fYkLTsrZEorHgAfRm8SiAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Amleth%20Icelandic%20saga&f=false
So it seems clear that the really, really original "Hamlet" archetype is not definable by Scandinavian sources.
The events in the story may help. The end of the Viking age is said at this site to be when Haraldr was defeated in Britain, and the Saxo story has Hamlet in Britain (after feigning madness at home at the suspicion of the murder of his father), marrying there, and also marrying a Scottish queen (and bringing them both back to Denmark apparently, see Saxo).
That would indeed put the story after the Viking age, and about the time of Valdemar, a little earlier perhaps? See p.266 generally, at http://books.google.com/books?id=d-XiZO8V4qUC&pg=PA266&lpg=PA266&dq=royal+seat+medieval+denmark&source=bl&ots=buJfum40OD&sig=Xj4wk4MvM9qMuP47rezSTFbgWDA&hl=en&ei=3m0LTtDQGoXQgAe8soiOAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&sqi=2&ved=0CDQQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=royal%20seat%20medieval%20denmark&f=false\
3. Where in Jutland?
One problem is that it is on an island, Als Island. It passed to Germany in the 1860's, then back to Denmark in the 1920's; and straddles both sides of the Sound. See http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/17393/Als
Pro. The water distance is small, however; and would have been an easy ferry ride over. By now, of course, it is connected by full roads. And the water is a plus: Amleth walks the beach, finds the rudder of a shipwreck, see page 109 at Saxo, by Frederick York Powell
Default. Where else is there on Jutland, but a place with proximity to Britain and events at the close of the Viking era: Medieval Sondeborg Slot, Sonderborg Castle, Soenderborg; we are looking for drawings of the castle before the Renaissance changes. Is Viborg in the running, founded 1000, see http://www.ambwarszawa.um.dk/NR/rdonlyres/39B0DE26-EB74-442B-A14C-8015D37D55D0/0/WelcometoViborgthegreenheartofJutland.pdf
Look closer at Sonderborg as a site:
- Sonderborg was built as a tower in 1158 by Valdemar the Great, a tower serving as the defensible entryway into the castle, with other functions as a residence, a keep, prison, see http://www.ses.dk/en/SlotteOgHaver/Slotte/SoenderborgSlot.aspx. It later became a royal residence and Renaissance showcase, cannons, billets, prisons,* but what, if anything, was there before? see http://www.sonderborg.dk/english/students/facts/
- Saxo wrote his story in 1185, so would have known the Sonderborg setting as in Jutland, see http://bestoflegends.org/shakespeare/hamlet.html
- And there is a plain, a battle plain, just west of Sonderborg itself at Dybbol, that is the site of other battles, including civil wars, wars with Germany over Schleswig-Holstein, etc.
Written sources cite Sonderborg in 1256. See Graensforningen.dk at (click to translate) http://www.graenseforeningen.dk/artikel/3567/
We will look there.
c. However, there are other options. Still looking. Need bones. Off to Iceland.
* We need a reference, a comparison, because Sonderborg does not have the websites we are looking for: its archeological history, overall map. Bergenhus in Norway looks very like Sonderborg - read the progression of uses, incorporation of the old medieval tower, he entry into the medieval castle, into a bigger tower, and uniting all the function buildings. See http://www.forsvarsbygg.no/Documents/Festningene/Festningsl%C3%B8ypene/Festningsl%C3%B8ypa%20Bergenhus%20_engelsk.pdf
So how the complex looks now, is not what it was as an original medieval construct.
Other medieval royal seats in Denmark: near Roskilde, Lieth (that is on Zealand where Kronborg is); or old Arhus.