Is Hamlet in Reality a True Crime Story About the Murder of Tycho Brahe?

“Hamlet” by William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is considered one of the greatest plays of all times. We all know the story of the Danish prince whose mother has married the undisclosed murderer of his father, i.e. his uncle who now also has become the new king. However, when most of us see this as the well-established plot of the play, professor Peter Andersen (Universite de Strassbourg) sees it as a sort of allegory over the murder of the famous Danish astronomist, Tycho Brahe (1546-1601). This controversial theory was published in his new book, “Kunstvaerket” (: “The Artwork”).

His key to this interpretation is a story from 1603: “Den Hvenske Krønike”. It is about the enmity of the brother of King James I’s wife, Anna, i.e. the Danish king Christian IV (1588-1648) and the astronomist, the murder by proxy by his relative, Erik Brahe, who admitted his crime in a letter, etc., etc.. The reason for the murder is according to Peter Andersen first and foremost the numerous slights by Tycho Brahe against the king’s close friend and advisor, Jon Jakobsen (Also goes by the name of Venusin).

One of the reasons for the king’s personal hatred of Tycho Brahe may have been the rumours that he had had an affair with his mother and that he had murdered his father, the former king. That made the astronomist out to be the king’s natural father and thus robbed him of his legitimacy. According to Peter Andersen, the “Elsinore” of “Hamlet” is not the town of Helsingoer, but the small island of Hven which for many years was the home of Tycho Brahe.

To me this is a rather circumstantial evidence in a crime investigation, but Peter Andersen has assembled a large mass of evidence and is very well read. I think this is a book which shall fall totally or stand tall with time. Many will reject it on sight, so to speak, but only time will tell how it shall fare.