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Hamlet. some background…. Time Period. Written in 1599 Six years before Macbeth Queen Elizabeth elderly – succession in question Play set in 1000-1100 – around the time Beowulf was written and the same time period of Macbeth. International Affairs. Campaigns in Ireland

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hamlet

Hamlet

some background…

time period
Time Period
  • Written in 1599
  • Six years before Macbeth
  • Queen Elizabeth elderly – succession in question
  • Play set in 1000-1100 – around the time Beowulf was written and the same time period of Macbeth
international affairs
International Affairs
  • Campaigns in Ireland
  • Queen Elizabeth’s Navy had repelled an Spanish Armada invasion
  • Hamlet set in Denmark who had invaded in the time period off the play
background of play
Background of play…
  • Other less successful versions
  • Historical basis in Saxo-Grammaticus history for a similar story
  • Similar to the story of Edward the Confessor (character in Macbeth)
succession
Succession
  • Most of Shakespeare’s historical plays deal with this issue
  • Before hierarchical succession
  • Chosen by nobility
    • Right person/bloodline
    • Quality leader
    • Done properly reflecting divine will
events before the drama
Events before the drama…
  • Elder Hamlet - strong leader
    • Defeated Elder Fortinbras of Norway
    • Popular king
  • Hamlet’s son, Hamlet, is away at college
  • Elder Hamlet dies, apparently, from a snake bite
  • Within a month Elder Hamlet’s brother, Claudius, is named king and marries Elder Hamlet’s wife, Gertrude.
  • When young Hamlet returns – he’s PO’ed.
ghosts
Ghosts…
  • Shakespearian audiences believed in ghosts
  • However, these were not ghosts of specific people
  • However…. they could take the shape of different people like in Macbeth
chivalry vs law
Chivalry vs. Law
  • Avenge your father’s murderer
  • Thou shalt not murder
  • No monarch is above the law…?...
jungian connections
Jungian Connections
  • Characters assume many personas to get what they want
  • Desires sublimated for other goals and appearances
  • Shadow personalities develop into complexes
  • ‘To be or not to be’ - who I am and what I’m supposed to do…
other interpretations
Other interpretations…
  • Medical - melancholy
  • Fatal flaw - inaction, hesitation, irresolution
  • Freudian – Hamlet wants to bed his mamma
  • Feminist – the man’s keeping us down…
why so important
Why so important?
  • Very long
  • Never see the same play twice
  • Long monologues
  • Fortinbras, Rosencrantz and Gildenstern, Osric, The Players
  • Many layers, personas, motivations
the language to be or not to be
The language…"To be, or not to be"
  • Frailty, thy name is woman!
    • Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
  • This above all: to thine own self be true,
  • Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
  • Murder most foul, ...
  • ...brevity is the soul of wit,
  • Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't.
  • There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
  • O, woe is me,
  • The lady doth protest too much, methinks.