Shakespeare's Hamlet: A Search For Meaning

Shakespeare's Hamlet is possibly one of the most commented on and criticized literary works in the academic world. The character of Hamlet, as A. C. Bradley says, 'has been the subject of more discussion than any other in the whole literature of the world.' (Bradley) There are many approaches and views that have been applied to this famous work. Due to its depth and complexity, Hamlet has been used as a literary medium for discussing sociological, psychological and philosophical issues, as well as aspects of modernism and post-modern theory and cultural views. The figure of Hamlet has also been used as a means to debate a diverse range of views ranging from Freudian theories of the ...

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for meaning. At the same time the central focus of the essay will be to see how different critical approaches focus on the central themes in the play.
The figure of Hamlet has been the object of contemporary literary and philosophical criticism for an important reason. Hamlet represents the archetypal existential male searching for meaning in a world that has apparently become insane. Faced with the perversity of his father's murder and mother's betrayal, Hamlet is a tortured individual who is searching for psychological as well as philosophical equilibrium. This has some very obvious correspondence to the twentieth century and the advent of modernism.
Modernism was essentially a questioning of established views of human nature and society. The contemporary correspondences of Hamlet's questioning of the authority structure of his world were not lost on many artists and theorists. Hamlets crisis of faith and interrogation of self is also a prominent aspect that is explored ...

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from Freud and the repressed unconscious to later views by Lacan.
Walter Kaufmann's book, From Shakespeare to Existentialism: Studies in Poetry, Religion, and Philosophy (Kaufmann) provides a good overview of the philosophical development of existential philosophy. It provides an essential background to the rationale behind Existentialism and includes a collection of essays on Freud, Jaspers, Nietzsche, Goethe and Heidegger. Importantly, the book provides a good overview of the link between Shakespeare and existentialism in a chapter entitled, Shakespeare: between Socrates and Existentialism. The author also has an interesting view of the relationship of Shakespeare's Hamlet to other ...

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Added: 7/6/2016 05:23:59 AM
Category: Shakespeare
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1550
Pages: 6

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