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“Deconstruction and Hamlet ” and “Giving up the Ghost”. Kelsey Teeters, Rebecca Fahrni, Brittany Sant and Nichole Corban. Deconstruction.

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Deconstruction and hamlet and giving up the ghost l.jpg

“Deconstruction and Hamlet”and“Giving up the Ghost”

Kelsey Teeters, Rebecca Fahrni, Brittany Sant and Nichole Corban


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Deconstruction

  • Deconstruction has a reputation for being the most complex and forbidding of contemporary critical approaches to literature, but in fact almost all of us have, at one time, either deconstructed a text or badly wanted to deconstruct one.

  • Deconstruction is dismantling the text. Demonstration that it has already dismantled itself. Breaking down the different areas.

  • The term refers to a way of reading texts practiced by critics who have been influenced by the writings of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida.

  • Although its ultimate aim may be to critique Western idealist and logic, deconstruction as it is practiced in literary criticism began as a response to structuralism and to formalism, another structure-oriented theory of reading.


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Deconstruction Cont.

  • Deconstruction calls into question assumptions made about literature by formalist, as well as structuralist, critics.

  • Both the formalist and the deconstructor focus on the literary text; neither is likely to interpret a poem or novel by relating it to events in the author’s life, letters, historical period, or even culture. Deconstructors find contradiction and undecidability.

  • Deconstructors confront the apparent limitless possibilities for the production of meaning that develop when the language of the critic enters the language of the text.


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Deconstruction Cont.

  • According to Derrida, people tend to think and express thoughts in opposites. One is positive and the other is negative.

  • Examples

    • Beginning/end

    • Conscious/unconscious

  • Can you come up with any examples?


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Deconstruction Cont.

  • Deconstruction is easily misunderstood. It is a tendency to think that it has something to do with readers who decide the choice between two or more equally plausible, conflicting readings about the same text can’t be made.


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Giving up the Ghost

Marjorie Garber


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The Anamorphic Ghost

  • The agent of repetition here, clearly, is a ghost.

  • A ghost is a memory trace, sign of something missing, absent, and undone.

  • Horatio associates the appearance of ghost with the death of Julius Caesar

  • Jacques Lacan associates it with the castration complex, the “veiled phallus”

  • The ghost itself is traditionally often veiled, sheeted and shadowy in form and is a cultural marker of absence, a reminder of loss.

  • Freud tells us about in his text on the decline of the Oedipus complex: one cannot strike the phallus, because the phallus, even the real phallus, is a ghost.


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The Anamorphic Ghost cont.

  • The Law of the father, the ghost is questioned repeatedly. It cannot be internalized, not assimilated into the symbolic, and therefore blocks father than facilitates Hamlet’s own passage into the symbolic, where he will find his desire.

  • This father-The Ghost-isn’t dead enough. The injunction to “Remember me” suggests that he is not quite dead. Hamlet must renounce him, must internalize the Law by forgetting not by remembering. This is the only way he can be put in touch with his own desires and with the symbolic.

  • Doubting is a large portion of this section.

  • Lacan thus concerns himself with Shakespeare’s play as a remarkable example of the topology of human desire.


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What Would Your Gracious Figure?

  • Paul De Man

    • Talks about the power of speech

    • “Voice assumes mouth, eye, and finally face, a chain that is manifest in the name”

    • He deals mostly with the topic of giving and taking away faces.

    • Meaning that by naming the Ghost it has a face


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Why Would Your Gracious Figure? Cont.

  • Ghost

    • Whether or not the ghost speaks is the whole central idea of the first act.

    • It was common belief that it must be spoke to first

    • This way the ghost can state its business

    • Referred to as “it” so that it seemed unreal


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Why Would Your Gracious Figure? Cont.

  • Ghost cont.

    • Hamlet first uses the word “its” to describe the figure.

    • He uses opposites too such as “pale” or “red”

    • Elizabethans often used “its” and “his” interchangeably

      • After meeting and speaking to the Ghost, Hamlet starts to call it “him”

      • This is a striking change

      • Hamlet chooses to name the Ghost

      • Many call this Hamlet’s mind modifications to the Ghost

      • Hamlet giving the ghost a face fulfills De Man prophecy


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Begging the Question

  • The Ghost’s demand comes in the form of a double demand: “Remember me!” and “revenge”

  • Hamlet is obsessively concerned with remembering and forgetting

  • Not only does the Ghost provoke Hamlet to seek revenge and provoke Hamlet to take his demands made, but when in Gertrude’s bedroom the Ghost reminds Hamlet to be sure to seek revenge.

  • Gertrude feels as if Hamlet has not only forgotten that she is the queen, but also his mother.


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Begging the Question Cont.

  • In current discussions of two Hegelian words for memory can show some light on the problem of the relationship between memory and revenge.

  • Erinnerung or recollection according to Paul de Man is the gathering and preserving of skill.

  • Gedachtnis or according to de Man is memory rote of names, or words considered as names, and cannot be separated from notation, inscription, or the writing down of these names. To remember these names one is required to write down what you are likely to forget.


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Begging the Question Cont.

  • When Hamlet first appears he is beset by recollection, the consciousness of loss.

  • Freud describes this immersion, when it reaches the state of melancholy, as a sort of refusal to let go.

  • Jacques Derrida, writing on memory and mourning, in mourning of Paul de Man, suggests that recollection and memory are central to “the possibility of mourning”

  • The word commandment is used to denote Hamlet’s act of inscription and substitution that sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to be executed in England.


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Forgetting the Hobbyhorse

  • Remembering makes action impossible. It keeps the characters, namely Hamlet, from acting.

  • The past must be forgotten in order for action to happen.

  • In the play, Hamlet is to both remember and revenge his father’s murder. These two directives seem to be at odds. “Remember me,’ and “do not forget” both impede action and revenge.

    • For Hamlet to take action he needs to forget.


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Forgetting the Hobbyhorse Cont.

  • Nietzsche studied Hamlet at one point and meditated on points in the play. He meditated on revenge, the ghost, the beast and the grave-digger.

  • Hamlet is a play of undecidability.

  • There is the theme of repetition in the play. Remembering means to repeat.

    • The compulsion to repeat replaces the impulse to remember for Hamlet.

  • A tragedy, such as Hamlet, can be pleasurable when it is received as a repetition.


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Turning the Tables

  • Questions who or what the ghost is.

  • To Hamlet, the ghost is supposed to be an all knowing figure or “sujet suppose savior.”

  • Hamlet may or may not believe in the ghost. The ghost’s existence is questionable.

  • There is a connection between the death of Freud’s father and Shakespeare’s father.

    • Freud and Hamlet’s stories are very similar.

  • Freud’s half brother is the “uncle” of the story and is “represented in Freud’s own dream associations in such a way as to suggest some real or imagined sexual relationship between Philip and his (Freud’s) mother.”


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Turning the Tables Cont.

  • The ghost can be perceived as Shakespeare because he has authority over the play.

    • The line “Remember me” can be interpreted as Shakespeare’s desire for us to remember him.

  • The Ghost cries “do not forget.” Today we still struggle with the meaning of the ghost today.


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