The Elizabethan Hamlet
This original and provocative reinterpretation of Hamlet presents the play as the original audiences would have viewed it--a much bleaker, stronger, and more deeply religious play than it has usually been assumed to be. Arthur McGee draws a picture of a Devil-controlled Hamlet in the damnable Catholic court of Elsinore, and he shows that the evil natures of the Ghost and of Hamlet himself were understood and accepted by the Protestant audiences of the day.
Using material gleaned from an investigation of play-censorship, McGee offers a comprehensive discussion of the Ghost as Demon. He then moves to Hamlet, presenting him as satanic, damned as revenger in the tradition of the Jacobean revenge drama. There are, he shows, no good ghosts, and Purgatory, whence the Ghost came, was reviled in Protestant England. The Ghost's manipulation extends to Hamlet's fool/madman role, and Hamlet's soliloquy reveals the ambition, conscience, and suicidal despair that damn him. With this viewpoint, McGee is able to shed convincing new light on various aspects of the play. He effectively strips Ophelia and Laertes of their sentimentalized charm, making them instead chillingly convincing, and he works through the last act to show damnation everywhere. In an epilogue, he sums up the history of criticism of Hamlet, demonstrating the process by which the play gradually lost its Elizabethan bite. Appendixes develop aspects of Ophelia.
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The Revenge Ghost
The Fellow in the Cellarage
Ophelia and Laertes
ambition antic disposition appears association attitude believed Bussy d'Ambois C.S. Lewis Catechism Catholic Catholicism century Chambers Christ Christian Church Claudius Claudius's clown comic Commandments conscience context corrector damnation damned death demonic Denmark despair Devil divine doctrine Douce Dover Wilson drama Dumb Show Eleanor Prosser Elizabethan Elizabethan audience evil example father Faustus flowers fool Fortinbras friar Furies garland Gertrude groundling Hamlet Harold Jenkins hath heaven Hell holy Honest Whore Horatio Horestes Hotson Ibid Italian jester John Dover Wilson kill king L.C. Knights Laertes Leslie Hotson lily Lucianus madness Marian Marina Warner medieval melancholy moral murder night Ophelia Play Scene Player poison Polonius Pope Protestant Purgatory Queen reference religion religious revenge ghost revenge tragedy rose Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Satan says seems seen Shakespeare Shakespeare's audience soliloquy song soul Spanish Tragedy spirit Spivack stage symbolism Tarlton thee thou Ur-Hamlet Vice Virgin Walsingham Welsford words
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Shakespeare's Religious Allusiveness: Its Play and Tolerance
No preview available - 2004