Alas, poor Yorick

Hamlet (or Amled) was, according to the chronicler Saxo Grammaticus, a Danish prince. Hamlet's father, King Orvendel, was murdered by his brother Fenge, who then married Hamlet's mother Gerutha. Hamlet was spared but sent to England where he gained riches and fame, whereupon he returned to Denmark and avenged the killing of his father by slaying both his uncle and his mother.

The legend forms the background for Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. The Bard takes some liberties with the background material, especially by placing his hero at the castle of Elsinore on Zealand--which did not exist at the time--and by introducing Rosenkrantz and Gyldenstern, a pair of late-medieval characters, as Hamlet's friends and companions.

Danish historians believe Orvendel was not king of Denmark but rather a chieftain in some small part of the Jutland peninsula, and that the action took place sometime in either the 4th or the 5th century.