Critical approaches to Hamlet
From its premiere at the turn of the 17th century, Hamlet has remained Shakespeare's best-known, most-imitated, most-analyzed play. The character of Hamlet played a critical role in Sigmund Freud's explanation of the Oedipus complex and thus influenced modern psychology. Within the narrower field of literature, the play's influence has been strong; as Foakes writes, "No other character's name in Shakespeare's plays, few in literature, have come to embody an attitude to life... and been converted into a noun in this way." Interpretations of Hamlet in Shakespeare's day were concerned with the play's portrayal of madness. The play was often portrayed more violently than in times; the play's contemporary popularity is suggested both by the five quartos that appeared in Shakespeare's lifetime and by frequent contemporary references. These allusions suggest that by the early Jacobean period the play was famous for the ghost and for its dramatization of melancholy and insanity; the procession of mad courtiers and ladies in Jacobean and Caroline drama appears indebted to Hamlet.
Other aspects of the play were remembered. Looking back on Renaissance drama in 1655, Abraham Wright lauds the humor of the gravedigger's scene, although he suggests that Shakespeare was outdone by Thomas Randolph, whose farcical comedy The Jealous Lovers features both a travesty of Ophelia and a graveyard scene. There is some scholarly speculation that Hamlet may have been censored during this period: see Contexts: Religious below. Theatres were closed under the Puritan Commonwealth, which ran from 1640–1660; when the monarchy was restored in 1660, theatres re-opened. Early interpretations of the play, from the late 17th to early 18th century showed Prince Hamlet as a heroic figure. Critics responded to Hamlet in terms of the same dichotomy that shaped all responses to Shakespeare during the period. On the one hand, Shakespeare was seen as primitive and untutored, both in comparison to English dramatists such as Fletcher and when measured against the neoclassical ideals of art brought back from France with the Restoration.
On the other, Shakespeare remained popular not just with mass audiences but with the critics made uncomfortable by his ignorance of Aristotle's unities and decorum. Thus, critics considered Hamlet in a milieu which abundantly demonstrated the play's dramatic viability. John Evelyn saw the play in 1661, in his Diary he deplored the play's violation of the unities of time and place, yet by the end of the period, John Downes noted that Hamlet was staged more and profitably than any other play in Betterton's repertory. In addition to Hamlet's worth as a tragic hero, Restoration critics focused on the qualities of Shakespeare's language and, above all, on the question of tragic decorum. Critics disparaged the indecorous range of Shakespeare's language, with Polonius's fondness for puns and Hamlet's use of "mean" expressions such as "there's the rub" receiving particular attention. More important was the question of decorum, which in the case of Hamlet focused on the play's violation of tragic unity of time and place, on the characters.
Jeremy Collier attacked the play on both counts in his Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage, published in 1698. Comparing Ophelia to Electra, he condemns Shakespeare for allowing his heroine to become "immodest" in her insanity in the "Flower Scene". Collier's attack occasioned a widespread vituperative controversy. Hamlet in general and Ophelia in particular were defended by Thomas D'urfey and George Drake immediately. Drake defends the play's justice on the grounds that the murderers are "caught in their own toils", he defends Ophelia by describing her actions in the context of her desperate situation. In the next decade and Dennis agreed with Collier that the play violated justice. Criticism of the play in the first decades of the 18th century continued to be dominated by the neoclassical conception of plot and character; the many critics who defended Hamlet took for granted the necessity of the classical canon in principle. Voltaire's attack on the play is the most famous neoclassical treatment of the play.
Thus Lewis Theobald explained the seeming absurdity of Hamlet's calling death an "undiscovered country" not long after he has encountered the Ghost by hypothesizing that the Ghost describes Purgatory, not death. Thus William Popple praises the verisimilitude of Polonius's character, deploring the actors' tradition of playing him only as a fool. Both Joseph Addison and Richard Steele praised particular scenes: Steele the psychological insight of the first soliloquy, Addison the ghost scene; the ghost scenes, were particular favorites of an age on the verge of the Gothic revival. Early in the century, George Stubbes noted Shakespeare's use of Horatio's incredulity to make the Ghost credible. At midcentury, Arthur Murphy described the play as a sort of poetic representation of the mind of a "weak and melancholy person." George Colman the Elder singled out the play in a general discussion of Shakespeare's skill with supernatural elements in drama. In 1735, Aaron Hill sounded an unusual but prescient note when he praised the seeming contradictions in Hamlet's temperament.
After midcentury, such psychological readings had
Laertes is a character in William Shakespeare's play Hamlet. Laertes is the brother of Ophelia. In the final scene, he kills Hamlet with a poisoned sword to avenge the deaths of his father and sister, for which he blamed Hamlet. While dying of the same poison, he implicates King Claudius; the Laertes character is thought to be originated by Shakespeare, as there is no equivalent character in any of the known sources for the play. His name is taken from father of Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey. In the first act, Laertes is seen warning Ophelia against Hamlet's romantic pursuit of her, saying Hamlet will soon lose his desire for her, that it is not Hamlet's own choice but the king's as to whom he will marry. Before Laertes returns to France from Denmark, returning to Denmark only to attend the coronation of King Claudius, his father, gives him advice to behave himself in France. During Laertes's absence, Hamlet kills Polonius in Gertrude's parlour. Laertes, informed of his father's death, returns to Denmark, leads a mob to storm and take the castle.
Laertes confronts the King. The King explains to him who the real killer was, incites Laertes to kill Hamlet and avenge Polonius' death; when Ophelia appears in her mad condition, Laertes laments, saying that if she had her wits she could not persuade him more to revenge. Laertes is informed of her death, she had climbed into a willow tree that hung over a brook, fell into the water when a branch broke. Too insane to save herself, she drowned, his sister's death strengthens Laertes's resolve to kill Hamlet. At her funeral, Laertes asks why the normal Christian burial ceremony is not being carried out for his sister, rebukes the priest for questioning her innocence, he begs the attendants to bury him with her. Hamlet, watching from afar and himself leaps into Ophelia's grave; when Laertes attacks Hamlet, the two have to be held back to avoid a fight. In the next scene, King Claudius arranges a fencing match between Laertes. Laertes uses his poisoned sword instead of a bated sword; the King provides a poisoned drink as a backup measure.
Before the match begins, Hamlet apologises publicly to Laertes for the wrongs. Laertes accepts the apology, so he says. Hamlet is wounded with the poisoned sword. In a scuffle, the swords are switched. Hamlet wounds Laertes with his own poisoned blade, Laertes falls as well. Only does he seem to feel guilty, for he tells Osric he has been "justly killed" with his own treachery; as he lies dying, Laertes confesses the truth and reveals that it was Claudius's plot, resulting in the death of Claudius by Hamlet's hands. Laertes asks Hamlet for forgiveness, absolving him of his and his father's deaths if Hamlet absolves him of his own. Hamlet does. Other characters' views of Laertes vary widely. Polonius feels a need to send a servant to France to spy on his son's behaviour. Ophelia tells him not to be a hypocrite. Hamlet is at first puzzled by Laertes's hatred for him, but admits that he sees his own cause displayed in Laertes's actions. Laertes is portrayed by humble actors of the screen, to give a loyal, wholesome appeal to the character.
He has been played by Terence Morgan, Nicholas Jones, Nathaniel Parker, Hugh Bonneville, Michael Maloney, Liev Schreiber, Edward Bennett and Tom Felton
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Incorporated d/b/a OCLC is an American nonprofit cooperative organization "dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs". It was founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog in the world. OCLC is funded by the fees that libraries have to pay for its services. OCLC maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system. OCLC began in 1967, as the Ohio College Library Center, through a collaboration of university presidents, vice presidents, library directors who wanted to create a cooperative computerized network for libraries in the state of Ohio; the group first met on July 5, 1967 on the campus of the Ohio State University to sign the articles of incorporation for the nonprofit organization, hired Frederick G. Kilgour, a former Yale University medical school librarian, to design the shared cataloging system.
Kilgour wished to merge the latest information storage and retrieval system of the time, the computer, with the oldest, the library. The plan was to merge the catalogs of Ohio libraries electronically through a computer network and database to streamline operations, control costs, increase efficiency in library management, bringing libraries together to cooperatively keep track of the world's information in order to best serve researchers and scholars; the first library to do online cataloging through OCLC was the Alden Library at Ohio University on August 26, 1971. This was the first online cataloging by any library worldwide. Membership in OCLC is based on use of services and contribution of data. Between 1967 and 1977, OCLC membership was limited to institutions in Ohio, but in 1978, a new governance structure was established that allowed institutions from other states to join. In 2002, the governance structure was again modified to accommodate participation from outside the United States.
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It offers the bibliographic discovery system WorldCat Discovery, which allows for library patrons to use a single search interface to access an institution's catalog, database subscriptions and more. OCLC has been conducting research for the library community for more than 30 years. In accordance with its mission, OCLC makes its research outcomes known through various publications; these publications, including journal articles, reports and presentations, are available through the organization's website. OCLC Publications – Research articles from various journals including Code4Lib Journal, OCLC Research, Reference & User Services Quarterly, College & Research Libraries News, Art Libraries Journal, National Education Association Newsletter; the most recent publications are displayed first, all archived resources, starting in 1970, are available. Membership Reports – A number of significant reports on topics ranging from virtual reference in libraries to perceptions about library funding. Newsletters – Current and archived newsletters for the library and archive community.
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House of Gonzaga
The House of Gonzaga was an Italian princely family that ruled Mantua, in northern Italy, from 1328 to 1708. Their family includes twelve cardinals and fourteen bishops. Two Gonzaga descendants became empresses of the Holy Roman Empire, one became queen of Poland; the first members of the family of historical importance are known to have collaborated with the Guelph faction alongside the monks of the Polirone Abbey. Starting from the 12th century they became a dominant family in Mantua, growing in wealth when their allies, the Bonacolsi, defeated the traditional familiar enemy, the Casalodi. In 1328, Ludovico I Gonzaga overthrew the Bonacolsi lordship over the city with the help of the Scaliger, entered the Ghibelline party as capitano del popolo of Mantua and imperial vicar of Emperor Louis IV. Ludovico was succeeded by Guido and Ludovico II, while Feltrino, lord of Reggio until 1371, formed the cadet branch of the Gonzaga of Novellara, whose state existed until 1728. Francesco I abandoned the traditional alliance with the Visconti of Milan, in order to align their rising power with the Republic of Venice.
In 1433, Gianfrancesco I assumed the title of Marquis of Mantua with the recognition of Emperor Sigismund, while obtaining recognition from the local nobility through the marriage of his daughter Margherita to Leonello d'Este, Marquis of Ferrara in 1435. In 1530 Federico II received the title of Duke of Mantua. In 1531, the family acquired the Marquisate of Montferrat through marriage. Through maternal ancestors, the Gonzagas inherited the Imperial Byzantine ancestry of the Paleologus, an earlier ruling family of Montferrat. A cadet branch of the Mantua Gonzagas became dukes of Nevers and Rethel in France when Luigi Gonzaga, a younger son of Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua and Margherita Paleologa, married the heiress; the Gonzaga-Nevers came to rule Mantua again when Louis's son Charles inherited Mantua and Montferrat, triggering the War of the Mantuan Succession. Another cadet branch were first sovereign counts dukes of Guastalla, they descended from a younger son of Duke Francesco II of Mantua.
Ferrante's grandson, Ferrante II played a role in the War of the Mantuan Succession. A further cadet branch was that of Sabbioneta, founded by Gianfrancesco, son of Ludovico III. Marie Louise Gonzaga, daughter of Prince Charles Gonzaga-Nevers, was a Polish queen consort from 1645 to her death in 1667. Two daughters of the house, both named Eleanor Gonzaga, became Holy Roman Empresses, by marrying emperors Ferdinand II of Germany and Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor, respectively. From the latter Empress Eleanor, the current heirs of the Gonzaga descend. St. Aloysius Gonzaga was a member of a junior branch of this family; the House of Gonzaga is the inspiration for the play-within-the-play in Shakespeare's Hamlet. In Act 3 scene 2, they act out a play called The Murder of Gonzago. Gonzaga rule continued in Mantua until 1708 and in Guastalla until 1746. Both ruling lines became extinct, the headship of the House of Gonzaga passed to the Vescovato line, descended from Giovanni, a son of Federico I Gonzaga.
That branch, shorn of sovereign domains, is extant. Its head is Maurizio Ferrante Gonzaga; the branches of the Gonzaga family, showing marquises and dukes of Mantua in bold, dukes of Nevers and Rethel in italics and the Guastalla line to the right. Aloysius Gonzaga, SJ 1568–1591, canonized by the Catholic Church in 1726 Francesco Gonzaga Sigismondo Gonzaga Pirro Gonzaga Ercole Gonzaga Francesco Gonzaga Federico Gonzaga Giovanni Vincenzo Gonzaga Scipione Gonzaga Francesco Gonzaga Ferdinando Gonzaga, became Duke of Mantua, as Ferdinando I, in 1612 Vincenzo Gonzaga, became Duke of Mantua, as Vincenzo II, in 1626 Duchy of Mantua, a list of House of Gonzaga rulers; the Gonzaga. Lords of Mantua. London: Methuen. Marek, Miroslav. "Genealogy tree". Genealogy. EU. Giancarlo, Malacarne. "Family Tree of the Gonzaga". Albero genealogico dei Gonzaga
The Gravediggers are examples of Shakespearean fools, a recurring type of character in Shakespeare's plays. Like most Shakespearean fools, the Gravediggers are peasants or commoners that use their great wit and intellect to get the better of their superiors, other people of higher social status, each other; the Gravediggers appear in Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet, making their only appearance at the beginning of Act V, scene i. They are first encountered as they are digging a grave for the newly deceased Ophelia, discussing whether she deserves a Christian burial after having killed herself. Soon, Hamlet engages in a quick dialogue with the first Gravedigger; the beat ends with Hamlet's speech regarding the circle of life prompted by his discovery of the skull of his father's beloved jester, Yorick. The penultimate scene of the play begins with the two clowns digging a grave for the late Ophelia, they debate. This leads them into a discussion of the impact of politics on the decision, the two parody lawyer speech.
They present Ophelia's case from both positions: if she jumped into the water she killed herself, but if the water jumped on her she did not. The First Gravedigger laments the fact that the wealthy have more freedom to commit suicide than the poor; the pair get off the subject of suicide as as they began it, soon begins the more witty section of their scene. The First Gravedigger begins to goad and test the Second, beginning by confusing him with the double meaning of the word "arms"; the dialogue between the two ends when the First Gravedigger is unsatisfied by the answer to the riddle "What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?" that the Second Gravedigger gives, sends him off to bring back alcohol. The Second Gravedigger exits as Hamlet and Horatio enter, the First Gravedigger begins to sing a song on the topics of love and graves as he digs, he throws a skull out of the grave. Hamlet talks to Horatio about how inappropriate it is to treat what used to be someone's, an important someone's, body in such a way.
He decides to ask the Gravedigger whose grave he is digging, but the Gravedigger will not reveal the answer without another witty exchange. Soon, it is revealed; the two briefly discuss Hamlet's insanity. It is shortly thereafter that the Gravedigger points out a skull that used to belong to Yorick, the king's jester and Hamlet's caretaker. Hamlet asks if this could be so, the Gravedigger responds with, "E'en that,", marking his last line in the play; when together, the Gravediggers speak in riddles and witty banter regarding death, with the first asking the questions and the second answering. GravediggerWhat is he that builds stronger than either the mason, theshipwright, or the carpenter? OtherThe gallows-maker, for that frame outlives a thousandtenants, and in the scene: GravediggerAnd when you are askedthis question next, say “A grave-maker.” The houses thathe makes last till doomsday. While digging Ophelia's grave, the first Gravedigger sings to himself: GravediggerIn youth when I did love, did love, Methought it was sweetTo contract–o–the time, for–a–my behove, Oh, there–a–was nothing–a–meet.
GravediggerBut age with his stealing steps Hath clawed me in his clutch,And hath shipped me into the land As if I had never been such. GravediggerA pickax and a spade, a spade, For and a shrouding sheet,Oh, a pit of clay for to be made For such a guest is meet. Note: this song is full of reworkings or misquotes from Thomas Vaux, 2nd Baron Vaux of Harrowden's poem. "The Aged Lover Renounceth Love" Many important themes of the play are discussed and brought up by the Gravediggers in the short time they are on stage. The manner in which these themes are presented, however, is notably different from the rest of the play. While the rest of the play is set in the fictional world of Hamlet's Denmark, this scene helps make sense of the themes by bringing the focus to the audience's world. "By using recognizable references from contemporary times, the clown can, through the use of the oral tradition, make the audience understand the theme being played out by the court-dominated characters in the play."For example, although the First Gravedigger is in the fictional world of the play, he asks his fellow to "go, get thee to Yaughan, fetch me a stoup of liquor".
This does not appear in all versions and means little to us now, but it is "generally supposed, a nearby inn-keeper ". The First Gravedigger is in the same world as the English audience of the time when he jokes "... will not be seen in there. This gives enough of a distance from Elsinore to view what the clowns say as discreet parallels, not direct commentaries; the literal graveness of the situation subsides to the humor. This makes it possible for the characters to look at the subject of death objectively, giving rise to such speeches as Hamlet's musings over the skull of Yorick; the tone is set from the opening of the scene, during the Gravediggers' dialogue regarding Ophe
Harold Jenkins (Shakespeare scholar)
Harold Jenkins is described as "one of the foremost Shakespeare scholars of his century". His edition of Hamlet was published by Arden Shakespeare in 1982, it represents a peak in the editorial style of drawing on both quarto versions the 1604 quarto, the Folio of 1623, in order to create a single text. He wrote two monographs on Henry Chettle and Edward Benlowes, he published editions of Elizabethan plays and numerous scholarly articles, his long collaboration with the Arden Shakespeare started in the 1950s, with the commission to edit Hamlet. In 1958 he was named joint general editor of the series. In this capacity he worked with some of the most distinguished Shakespearean scholars of his time. Jenkins was raised in Buckinghamshire, he was the eldest son of Henry Jenkins, a dairyman, his wife, Mildred, née Carter. Jenkins was educated at a local school from age three, won a place in 1920 at what was to become Wolverton grammar school, he went on in 1927 to University College, where he read English language and literature.
He graduated in 1930 with honors, winning the George Morley medal in English literature and the George Smith studentship. The award of the Quain studentship, which followed, allowed him to continue his studies for five more years, while he taught, his MA thesis was on Henry Chettle. This thesis was supervised by W. W. Greg, was subsequently published as The Life and Work of Henry Chettle. After one year as William Noble fellow in the University of Liverpool he took up a lectureship in English in 1936 at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, where he stayed until 1945, his Witwatersrand doctorate thesis was published as Edward Benlowes: Biography of a Minor Poet. While in South Africa, he reviewed books in the medium of radio broadcasts from 1940 until 1945. In 1945, after a decade in South Africa, he returned to London as a professor at University College London and soon was promoted to Reader. In 1954 he was the first chair of English at Westfield College. During this time, he published essays on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and As You Like It, he published the study The Structural Problem in Henry IV, his inaugural lecture at Westfield College.
In 1954 Jenkins agreed to edit Shakespeare’s Hamlet for the New Arden Shakespeare, in 1958 he became joint general editor of the Arden series, along with Harold Brooks. Jenkins believed "editing was the most valuable of all scholarly activities, for the edition of a text will stand for future ages long after the fogs of critical opinion have dispersed" Writing in the Shakespeare Newsletter, he said that "the complex relation between Q2 and F remains the chief unsolved problem of the Hamlet texts". E. A. J. Honigmann suggests that Jenkins’ characteristic spirit of combativeness in the notes to the Arden Hamlet may surprise some readers, but that it is “connected to Jenkins' flair for getting at the truth and the great value he places on it.”He was a visiting professor at Duke University in America from 1957 to 1958. In 1967 he became Regius Professor of English at the University of Edinburgh, he retired early in London to work on his edition of Hamlet, published in 1982. His work on Hamlet produced eight articles or major lectures, including his British Academy lecture in 1963, "Hamlet and Ophelia", his 1967 lecture at the University of Edinburgh, "The Catastrophe in Shakespearean Tragedy".
He was a professor at the University of Oslo. According to The Guardian, "His courtesy and brilliance as a lecturer marked the whole of his career, no one, his student will forget his lectures, which were outstanding for their wit and vivacity, as well as their clarity of analysis."He was a member of the council of the Malone Society and its president 1989-2000. He was on the editorial board of Shakespeare Survey, he was a senior fellow of the British Academy, a fellow of University College London, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Jenkins received an honorary D. Litt from Iona College in New Rochelle. Jenkins received the fellowship of the British Academy in 1989 and the 1986 Shakespeare Prize from the FVS Foundation of Hamburg. A book of essays published in 1987 in his honor and Winnowed Opinions, takes its title from a line in Hamlet, it includes sixteen essays by an "impressive list of contributors including several who edited plays for Arden Shakespeare under Jenkins direction, including Harold Brooks, E. A. J. Honigmann, Kenneth Palmer, Kenneth Muir, Richard Proudfoot.
It includes a memoir and a bibliography of Jenkins' publications. Jenkins served on the council of the Malone Society for forty years, he was elected its president in 1989, he met Gladys Puddifoot, when they were both students. They married in South Africa in 1939, she soon became a regarded historian, she shared his scholarly interests until her death in a car accident in 1984. In his preface to Hamlet he pays tribute to her, they travelled together a great deal. He died at his home in Surrey, he left his books and papers to Queen Mary and Westfield College, his more personal papers, including his diaries, were left with Catherine Warnock. His wife's diaries include personal details including the fact. Jenkins was known as one who "loved congenial company, good conversation, entertaining friends at the Athenaeum, good food and wine, he was a witty and charming host." The Tragedy of Hoffman The Fatal Marriage The Book of Sir Thomas More The Life and Work of Henry Chettle ”
The lady doth protest too much, methinks
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks" is a line from the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. It is spoken by Queen Gertrude in response to the insincere overacting of a character in the play within a play created by Prince Hamlet to prove his uncle's guilt in the murder of his father, the King of Denmark; the phrase is used in everyday speech to indicate doubt concerning someone's sincerity. A common misquotation places methinks first, as in "methinks the lady doth protest too much"; the line, like most of Shakespeare's works, is in iambic pentameter. It is found in Scene II of Hamlet, where it is spoken by Queen Gertrude, Hamlet's mother. Hamlet believes that the king, was murdered by his uncle Claudius. Hamlet decides to stage a play, the Murder of Gonzago, that follows a similar sequence of events, in order to test whether viewing it will trigger a guilty conscience on the part of Claudius; as Hamlet, Gertrude and others watch the play-within-the-play, the Player Queen, representing Gertrude, declares in flowery language that she will never remarry if her husband dies.
Hamlet turns to his mother and asks her, "Madam, how like you this play?", to which she replies "The lady doth protest too much, methinks", meaning that the Player Queen's protestations of love and fidelity are too excessive to be believed. The quotation comes from the Second Quarto edition of the play. Versions contain the simpler line, "The lady protests too much, methinks"; the line's allusion to Gertrude's fidelity to her husband has become a cliché of sexually fickle womanhood and a shorthand expression conveying doubt in a person's sincerity when the subject is male. As in the play, it is used to imply that someone who denies something strongly is hiding the truth, it is shortened to " protest too much", or misquoted with methinks at the beginning, as in "methinks the lady doth protest too much". Reaction formation Streisand effect