Many Renaissance critics and dramatists, in England and on the European Continent, agreed that tragedy teaches and delights. They drew on ancient dramatic theory and practice and on contemporary Christian beliefs and traditions to make the case for tragedy as a source of edification, entertainment, or both. The exact kinds of knowledge that tragedy conveys and how it conveys them were far from unanimously agreed on, however. Opponents of poetry and performance condemned tragedy as at once full of lies and a how-to of vicious behaviours and excessive passions. Even as tragedy’s defenders disputed these charges, they disagreed on the kinds of constructive knowledge and means of knowing that tragedy offers. A précis of Renaissance debates about tragedy and knowledge appears in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Printed and performed at the turn of the seventeenth century, this famous play bridges two centuries of critical and dramatic explorations of tragedy and knowledge by such prominent figures as Desiderius Erasmus, Lodovico Castelvetro, Philip Sidney, Daniel Heinsius, Pierre Corneille, and John Milton. The First Player’s speech introduces a uniquely Renaissance combination of classical, Christian, and juridical ideas about tragedy and knowledge. This moment in Shakespeare’s Hamlet also directs attention to some of the numerous arguments about tragic epistemology, including to whom and how exactly tragedy transmits knowledge. Some Renaissance critics combined Aristotle’s arguments on philosophy with his theory of tragedy in the Poetics to make the case for tragedy as a kind of dramatic lesson in logic. Others honed in on Aristotle’s attention to tragic emotions and debated the meaning of catharsis and the passions. Even as dramatists composed tragedies, including Shakespeare’s Hamlet, that contribute to these debates, they also often presented tragedy’s epistemic limits. Renaissance tragedy show both poetry and performance attempt but fall short of making suffering known and, by extension, actually suggests that suffering resists knowability.