Hamlet critics

Stephen Greenblatt -Afterlife
Hamlet is caught between Renaissance v Reformation versions of the afterlife
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David Kastan - Shakespearean tragedy
"Tragedy, for Shakespeare, is the genre of uncompensated suffering"
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Janet Adelman - The Murder of Gonzago
The Murder of Gonzago is designed to catch the conscience of Gertrude rather than that of Claudius
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Harold Bloom - Suicide
The play deflects Hamlet from suicide and is the play's turning point
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Von Goethe - Religion
"All duties seem holy for Hamlet"
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Swinburne - Hamlet's character
"The single characteristic of Hamlet's innermost nature is... the strong conflux of contending forces"
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Bradley - Religion
"Hamlet is unable to carry out the sacred duty"
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Wilson Knight - Claudius' character
"Claudius... is not a criminal... he is... a good and gentle king, enmeshed by the chain of causality linking him with his crime"
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Belsey - Justice
"Revenge is always in excess of justice"
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Belsey - Hamlet's character
"he is in fact the poison in the veins of the community"
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Rebecca Smith - Polonius' character
"Polonius seems to love his children... his means of actions, however, are totally corrupt"
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Rebacca Smith - Polonius' character
"[Polonius] trained his daughter to be obedient and chaste and is able to use her as a piece of bait for spying"
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Marilyn French - R&G's characters
"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern sacrifice the bond of human friendship to a social propriety"
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Showalter - Ophelia's character
"Ophelia is deprived of thought, sexuality and language... she represents the strong emotions that the Elizabethans thought womanish"
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Jonathon Dollimore - Corruption
"Articulates a crisis in the decay of a traditional social order in England"
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Richard D Altick - Claudius' character
"The cunning and lecherousness of Claudius' evil has corrupted the whole kingdom of Denmark"
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Emi Hamana - Ophelia's character
"[Ophelia] suffers a series of patriarchal oppressions"
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Kermode - Play within a play
Play within a play creates a Chinese-box" effect
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David Leverenz - Ophelia's character
"There are many voices in Ophelia's madness speaking through her... none of them her own"
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David Leverenz - Ophelia's character
"[Ophelia] is a play within a play, or a player trying to respond to several imperious directors at once. Everyone has used her... she is valued only for the roles that further other people's plots"
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Lee Edwards - Ophelia's character
"We can imagine Hamlet's story without Ophelia, but Ophelia literally has no story without Hamlet"
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Elaine Showalter - Ophelia's character
"For many feminist theorists, the madwoman is a heroine, a powerful figure who rebels against the family and the social order"
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?? - Claudius' character
The poison poured in the king's ear by Claudius is used by the ghost to symbolise the corrosive effect of Claudius' dishonesty on the health of Denmark
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?? - Claudius & Hamlet's characters
Claudius' willingness to disregard all moral law and act decisively to fulfil his appetites and lust for power contrasts powerfully with Hamlet's concern for morality and indecisive inability to act
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?? - Hamlet & Fortinbras' characters
Fortinbras' willingness to go to great lengths to avenge his father's death... contrasts sharply with Hamlet's inactivity, even though both of them are concerned with avenging their fathers
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?? - Hamlet & Laertes' characters
Laertes' single-minded, furious desire to avenge Polonius stands in stark opposition to Hamlet's inactivity with regard to his own father's death
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Williams - Revenge
"form of revenge expressly against the teachings of the Church"
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Adelman - Hamlet's character
"Hamlet's principal concern is not revenge but a desire to purify his mother"
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Smith - Women
"Claudius shares Hamlet's conception of Gertrude as an object... female virtue is identical to chastity"
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Showalter - Women
"Hamlet's disgust at the feminine passivity in himself is translated into violent revulsion against women and into his brutal behaviour towards Ophelia"
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Mack - Madness
"Madness... contains both punishment and insight... special insight and freedom to speak the truth"
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Sienfield - Madness
"Hamlet is presented as fashionably introspective and melancholy... [Ophelia's] madness is somatized and it's contents eroticised"
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?? - Madness
Hamlet does not play the madman, rather he plays the Fool, mocking and telling truths that no one wants to hear"
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?? - Gertrude's character
Gertrude's worst crime is of pragmatically marrying her brother-in-law to avoid a power vacuum
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Amanda Mabillard - Claudius' character
"Even those whom Claudius cares for cannot come before his ambition and desires"
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Wendy J. Rogers - Gertrude's character
"Through her refusal to accept the gender based expectations of her time and her defiant actions, Gertrude is ultimately responsible for the downfall of the ordered power structure and brings about her own destruction"
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Wendy J. Rogers - Women
"Even a young woman who works within the system possesses power in her own right"
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Wendy J. Rogers - Gertrude's Character
"[Gertrude] makes her decisions despite the objections of her son, her religion, and her husband... her defiance is responsible for... the disintegration of the hierarchy"
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Wendy J. Rogers - Women
"Women who comply with the social order are lost without it; those who defy it can know no other fortune than to be lost within it"
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Spurgeon - Corruption
"Images of sickness and disease... as descriptive of the unwholesome condition of Denmark morally"
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Alexander - Hamlet's character
"The feeling of failure and frustration, which Hamlet himself recognises, is created by this rapid alternation between the language of blood revenge and the language of conscience."
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Amanda Mabillard - Claudius' character
"[Claudius] is not a monster; he is morally weak, content to trade his humanity and very soul for a few prized possessions."
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

"Tragedy, for Shakespeare, is the genre of uncompensated suffering"

Back

David Kastan - Shakespearean tragedy

Card 3

Front

The Murder of Gonzago is designed to catch the conscience of Gertrude rather than that of Claudius

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

The play deflects Hamlet from suicide and is the play's turning point

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

"All duties seem holy for Hamlet"

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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