To interpret Hamlet as a philosophically relevant text, for a historian of philosophy, can mean two things: 1) to use philosophical texts as possible sources for Hamlet in order to contribute to a better understanding of some aspects of Shakespeare’s play; 2) to study Hamlet as a text in which philosophers have found inputs for philosophical debate. Both paths have been vastly pursued in literary and philosophical studies, and the scientific literature on both of them is extensive. As regards the first aspect, this essay tackles it by focusing on the relationship between Shakespeare and Montaigne’s scepticism, which is certainly the philosophical approach that most pervades Hamlet. The second aspect is explored by making reference to Hegel’s and Nietzsche’s readings of Hamlet, which, unlike twentiethcentury analytic philosophy, did not emphasise the fragility of the self but highlighted the radical quality of Hamlet’s doubt, thus paving the way for a nihilistic interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragedy.
Keywords: Hamlet, Montaigne, Nihilism, Philosophy, Scepticism, Shakespeare.