Was Hamlet really a Prince of Denmark? This question has intrigued researchers for many centuries. But recent studies have come up with new information. Most scholars till date have unanimously agreed that Shakespeare based his great tragedy on Hamlet of Amlethus, who is mentioned as a legend in the “History of the Danes”. This record was written around 1200. The name of Amlethus was tracked back from the word “Amlothi” which appears in the 10th or 11th century poem written by an Icelandic poet Snow Bear.
But recent studies suggest that the roots of true Hamlet are even deeper than this. The source can be assumed as a little known Irish tale known as “destruction of Da Derga’s Hostel”. This Irish tale was written in the 11th century. In this tale a king is killed in a hall filled with many uncanny figures. There are three prime figures in this tale Mael, Mlithi and Admlithi. There is particular resemblance between Admlithi and Hamlet. Admlithi of Eire became Hamlet of Elsinore when the tale travelled to Scandinavia through the sailor mouths. Snow Bear’s Amlothi can thus be stated as a corruption of Admlithi. Thus Admlithi can be easily replaced vy Amlethus or Amlothi.
Admlithi in this regard is related to the Gaelic word for grinding. This word was used by the navigators to describe grinding sea. Though Admlithi had a small role in the tale, but due to his strange name, Admlithi was used in different senses by the seafarers.
Thus Shakespeare seems to have unknowingly used an Irish tale for the basis of his tragedy. This new dimension would add some new insights into Hamlet and Shakespeare.