The tragedy of the decline and fall of Robert, Earl of Essex, had roused more excitement and emotion than any event since the defeat of the Great Armada in 1588; and William Shakespeare, to whom one of the protagonists had meant so much, was stirred even more profoundly than most. Shakespeare wrote little in the early months of the year, but in the late autumn he took up the old tragedy of Hamlet and rewrote it. In Hamlet for the first time Shakespeare elaborated the soliloquy to show a character exploring his own complex mentality. Hamlet was full of reminiscence and passing comment on men and events. Of late years, as his comprehension deepened he was infusing even the most trivial story with his own experience and using the drama as a vessel for his most intimate thoughts. Hamlet was full of them. In this final version, it was written in settled dejection.