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Hamlet Critical Perspectives - Essay Example

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Jane Jones Professor Jim Smith English IV 19 May 2012 Hamlet Critical Perspectives Perhaps owing to the over four hundred years since William Shakespeare wrote Hamlet in circa 1603, few works have had more critical perspectives written on them. Of course it has also been said that Shakespeare is the greatest writer in the English language and is the basis for the works of many other famous authors, including Keats, Poe, and Longfellow and even such more modern people like Steinbeck and Bradbury…
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Hamlet Critical Perspectives
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Download file to see previous pages This was almost a requirement, because England was under fire from many nations, including Rome and the Catholic church, due to Henry VIII (her father) breaking with the Vatican during his reign. Yet by the start of the seventeenth century, the queen was in her late sixties and to quote the French ambassador De Maisse “She kept the front of her dress open, and one could see the whole of her bosom…and… Her bosom is somewhat wrinkled”. As such Doctor Lavery draws the comparison of her and the elderly Gertrude, with whom Hamlet cannot hide his disgust when she marries Claudius (Lavery). Another contemporary viewpoint that Lavery believes Shakespeare used as a main theme for the play was revenge, especially when it pertained to corruption in government. True Hamlet sought true blood revenge for his father the king was murdered by his own brother in order to seize the throne. But he also grappled with an even bigger problem in that the government should be toppled, with violence if necessary, if it is deemed to be unworkable. Perhaps the founding fathers of the United States learned well from Hamlet and used his ideas when they decided to secede from England well over a century later. Then again it has been said by others that the inspiration for Hamlet was a Latin work from the thirteenth century called Vita Amlethi, well before Elisabeth’s Tudor monarchy had been established. Hamlet uses many mythological references in the work, along with historical figures interspersed to mythological status. For instance, the Roman emperor Julius Caesar (who was a central figure in many of Shakespeare’s works) was mentioned in three times in the play, mostly as part of Hamlet’s play within a play. Speaking of his uncle Claudius, Hamlet refers to him as a satyr, the drunken buffoon in Roman mythology from which we get the word satire. Of course figures from the Judaic Christian belief system is heavily referenced from the obvious references to Cain and Abel (Claudius slew his brother), the beggar Lazarus, Saints Peter, Patrick and James, to Jesus Christ himself. Even the madness of Hercules from Greek mythology is borrowed from, to reference the entire theme of insanity in the play. In his work Teaching Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Douglas Grudzina argues that the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud and his protege Carl Jung looked heavily at the mythological aspects of Hamlet when Jung said “some myths are repeated throughout history in cultures and eras that could not possibly have had any contact with one another” as in the Greeks and Chinese having basically the same stories. Jung believed that this concept was especially true in relation to religious beliefs. Every culture basically believes in creation and some sort of life after death. Based upon Shakespeare’s own beliefs, that would therefore explain the ghostly appearance of Hamlet’s father, asking that his son avenge him (Grudzina). The feminism of Hamlet, or lack of it, has been well documented, especially in the late twentieth century and one of the most famous of those was the tragic Ophelia, whose eventual madness was caused by her maltreatment from most if not all of the males she encountered. For a character so well written about by so many scholars, she appears ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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