Hamlet Critics

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  • Created by: Natalie
  • Created on: 28-05-15 13:35


•“The single characteristic of Hamlet’s innermost nature is by no means irresolution or hesitation or any form of weakness, but rather the strong conflux of contending forces”

•Paraphrased: A characteristic of Hamlet’s innermost nature is not irresolution or hesitation, but a desire to prove an argument right and the struggle to overcome dangers.

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Samual Johnson

•Hamlet is, through the whole play, rather an instrument than an agent.

•He makes no attempt to punish Claudius, and his death is at last effected by an incident which Hamlet has no part in producing

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Von Goethe

•Impossibilities have been required of Hamlet; not in themselves impossibilities, but such for him.

•All duties seem Holy for Hamlet

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•Hamlet is unable to carry out the sacred duty, imposed by divine authority, of punishing an evil man by death

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Paraphrase: Shakespeare seems to have wished to exemplify the moral necessity of balance between our senses and our minds. In Hamlet, this balance seems disturbed; his thoughts and imagination are far more vivid than his actual perceptions. Hamlet is obliged to act on the spur of the moment

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Wilson Knight

Claudius, as he appears in the play, is not a criminal.  He  is—strange  as  it  may  seem—a  good  and  gentle  king, enmeshed by the chain of causality linking him with his crime. And this chain he might, perhaps, have broken except for Hamlet, and all would have been well. 

Hamlet is an element of evil in the state of Denmark.

The question of relative morality of Hamlet and Claudius reflects the ultimate problem of the play.

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  • The proof of the King’s guilt does not solve Hamlet’s problem. The question remains, how does one deal with such a man, without becoming like him?
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  • Revenge is not justice. It is rather an act of injustice on behalf of justice
  • Revenge is always in excess of justice.
  • Revenge exists on a margin between justic and crime.
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