What Happens in Hamlet

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 2, 1951 - Literary Criticism - 357 pages
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John Dover Wilson's What Happens in Hamlet is a classic of Shakespeare criticism. First published in 1935, it is still being read throughout the English-speaking world and has been widely translated. Hamlet has excited more curiosity and aroused more debate than any other play ever written. Is Hamlet really mad? Does he really see his father's ghost, or is it an illusion? Is the ghost good or bad? What does it all mean? Dover Wilson brings out the significance of each part of the complex action, against the background. His analysis of the play emphasises Shakespeare's dramatic art and shows how the play must be seen and heard to be understood. This is a readable, entertaining and scholarly book.
 

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Contents

THE ROAD TO ELSINORE BEING AN EPISTLE DEDICATORY TO DR W W GREG
1
THE TRAGIC BURDEN
25
The state of Denmark
26
Gertrudes sin
39
The task
44
GHOST OR DEVIL?
51
Modern difficulties
52
Shakespeares realism
55
HAMLETS MAKEUP
199
The turningpoint
200
Sore distraction
205
The heart of the mystery
217
Dramatic emphasis
229
FAILURE AND TRIUMPH
239
Fortunes pipe
240
The bedroom scene
246

Problems of Elizabethan spiritualism
60
The four witnesses
66
Other superstitions
75
The cellarage scene
78
ANTIC DISPOSITION
87
Its origin purpose and character
88
Hamlet and Ophelia
101
Thwarted ambition
114
The nunnery scene
125
THE MULTIPLE MOUSETRAP
137
The parallel subplots
138
The problem of the dumbshow
144
Miching mallecho
153
Nephew to the King
164
The play scene restored
174
Eclipse
258
Hamlet returns
265
The hero at bay
276
APPENDICES
291
A The Adultery of Gertrude
292
B The Funeral of Ophelia
295
C The Identity of the Gonzago troupe
301
D Mr T S Eliots Theory of Hamlet
305
Shakespeares Knowledge of A Treatise of Melancholie by Timothy Bright
309
Hamlet as Cesare Borgia
321
NOTES to The Second Edition
335
INDEX OF PASSAGES FROM HAMLET QUOTED OR DISCUSSED
343
GENERAL INDEX
347
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