Hamlet - Context

  • Created by: Amleth
  • Created on: 29-05-18 19:10
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Elizabeth I - d.1603 / James I. Elizabeth executed Mary Queen of Scots - validated the killing of a monarch.
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Monarchy - vulnerability
Uncertainty due to lack of heir / Risk of invasion from Scotland - Ireland and Span. 'Chain of Being' - thrown off by Claudius - 'Body Politic'.
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Religion / Setting
Both Denmark and Wittenburg were Protestant - Catholics believed in purgatory - conflicted with Hamlet's ideals - why he hesitates.
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Religion con
These conflicting religions a reflection of religious conflict due to Religious Reformation in 16th / 17th Century.
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Shakespeare possibly a Catholic / Denmark used as to not criticise political situation in England / Son, Hamnet, died in 1596 - overwhleming grief - loss in play.
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Adapted from Saxo's 'Amleth' - brutal / successful revenge - plot peaks through to present Hamlet as hybrid philosopher and avenger. / 'The Spanish Tragedy' by Kyd - influential, created re-tr genre - tragedy, ghosts, madness, noble birth play w.
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Reveals Elizabethan beliefs about the importance of masculine honour - Women's honour actually manifestation of male. Women becoming property after marriage, below men in 'COB'.
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Social - Humanism
Hamlet's philosophical soliloquies reveal humanist ideals - based on Mirandola's 'Oration on the Dignity of man.' Often hailed as the humanist manifesto. Movement became sceptical - knowledge not 100% - hesitates.
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Social con
Hamlet's fixation on mortality due to average lifespan being 39-40 years old. Marrying between in-laws was seen as incestuous.
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Anxiety - Historical
"this warlike state" Fortinbras' invasion reflective of anxiety of Shakespeare's own society.
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Mental Health
Henry VIII created religious tension as well as Bethlem Hospital in London - England's only asylum for mentally ill - many had to live among community. Under new management in 1574, only let people who were 'capable of cure' in.
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Mental Health con
Believed mental illness was caused by devils - supernatural. A lot of blame out on women - Trier Witch Trials (1581-93) largest in Europe, 368 deaths. Those thought to have been touched or possessed by the devil were targeted.
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Elizabeth I - d.1603 / James I. Elizabeth executed Mary Queen of Scots - validated the killing of a monarch.

Card 3


Monarchy - vulnerability


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Card 4


Religion / Setting


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Card 5


Religion con


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