If you read a story (or see a film) and then somebody says, "Did you know that was based on Hamlet?" then what you'll do is run it back over in your brain and spot all the spots where it wasn't. Take for example Lion King, which I saw without even considering a Hamlet connection. Where's the Ophelia character? Polonius? The relationship between Gertrude and Claudius? Some of them are stretched - are Timon and Poomba *really* supposed to be Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? Or is this a case where they said "Uncle kills father, son avenges" and then just made up the rest?
However - what if somebody tells you to read story X, because it's based on Hamlet. Then you've got a whole different ball game. Such is the case with The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. This is not my review of that book, which will come when I finish it. Think of this as the intro material that would have padded my review when I finally did get around to it.
If you know you're reading a Hamlet story, then every plot device, every new character, you find yourself saying "Who is that supposed to be? What's happening here?" A grandfather? There's no grandfather in Hamlet, he must not be relevant. Oh look a random hippie chick? That's weird. Wonder if she'll be Ophelia. It's like a mystery story. When the dad dies - because we all know the dad dies, I hope - you get to sit there and wonder "How did he die? Did the brother do it? Will we learn that the brother did it? What's the wife's relationship to the brother?"
Hamlet shows us the dynamics of just about every family relationship - husbands and wives, fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, brothers (Claudius and King Hamlet), sisters (Laertes and Ophelia). It would be difficult to tell a family drama/tragedy and not be able to say "Oh, yeah, a little bit like Hamlet." Rivalry between brothers? A son with an absent father figure and mother issues? Family members who don't want the daughter to go with the man she chooses? All there.
We already know that this is done ad nauseam with Romeo and Juliet - every "they can't be together, oh the tragedy!" love story ever written has made the comparison.
But are there others? Does anybody ever write an Othello story, or a Macbeth story?