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Category archive for: Shakespeare

Hamlet’s crisis of irreconcilable meanings

Written by Vanessa Pupavac.

Why does Shakespeare’s Hamlet seem so close to us? Shakespeare’s drama takes us to the historic juncture between the old feudal order and the rise of the modern, and their conflicting values. Drama is quintessentially about crisis, here a crisis created by an uncle’s murder of his brother and usurpation of the throne. Hamlet’ dramatic crisis is precipitated by his inability to act against his uncle King Claudius, and reconcile contradictory normative imperatives: the ancient warrior’s honour, Christian ethics, Machiavellian secular politics and faithfulness to himself. Hamlet cannot escape the kingdom and his identity as prince. He is not a free agent as the king and other courtiers make clear. Continue reading Hamlet’s crisis of irreconcilable meanings