I Just Figured Out that Sons of Anarchy is Hamlet

I’m guessing that this is probably going to be an “ohhh yeahhh” moment for some and a “no shit” moment for others. This weekend I was informed that Sons of Anarchy, one of my favorite shows currently on air, is actually a loose retelling of Hamlet, with a biker gang subbing in for a royal family.

This is exceptionally apparent this season in particular, and after doing some more research, the parallels now seem pretty obvious.

(Creator) Sutter has said of the Shakespeare element, “I don’t want to overplay that but it’s there. It was Jax’s father who started the club, so he’s the ghost in the action. You wonder what he would have made of the way it turned out. It’s not a version of Hamlet but it’s definitely influenced by it.” Ron Perlman believes “they’re going to stick to the structure of Hamlet all the way to the end (of the series).

Jax’s father as the ghost is now quite obvious in this season, as his influence via lost letters is causing King Clay to go nuts and start murdering to protect himself. And if you think back, Jax has been referred to as “the prince” about a dozen times throughout the course of the series. If Perlman is right, and they really do follow the structure of Hamlet all the way through the end, there are going to be a lot of dead bodies piling up, the king, the queen, the prince, and half the court. But with a show as mainstream as this, could they possible pull something like that off? Is it really going to be Chibs, Juice and the fat prospect left standing at the end?

Anyway, it’s going to be interesting to watch the show with all this in mind now. I guess I was blind to the parallels as I haven’t read Hamlet since… I watched the Mel Gibson movie in high school English, but I think retelling it here in this format is pretty damn creative, and if that’s what they intended all along, bra-vo.


  1. XenoIrish November 7, 2011
  2. JB November 7, 2011
  3. Jim Lahey November 7, 2011
  4. Cube November 9, 2011
  5. Bert November 9, 2011
  6. DarthObsidenne November 30, 2011

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