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drama literature Shakespeare

The “Hamlet” Murder Mystery

1.  Old King Hamlet, sleeping in his orchard, was secretly murdered by Claudius, his brother and successor on the throne. His son, the Prince bearing his name, learns of this when he’s given a gruesome, detailed account of the crime from the Ghost of his father, the dead king returned from the grave. Prince Hamlet […]

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drama literature Shakespeare

“King, Father, Royal Dane”? Hamlet’s Dubious Father

1.“Where  else in Shakespeare,” A.C. Bradley once asked, “is there anything like Hamlet’s adoration of his father? His words melt into music whenever he speaks of him.” Really?  t may be, as Bradley insists, that the prince waxes lyrical whenever he has occasion to speak of his father’s high qualities, but that doesn’t mean they […]

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drama literature political ethics political theory politics Shakespeare

A Tainted Election? “Hamlet” & Politics

For roughly the first half of Hamlet, the audience is left in suspense as to whether or not Claudius, the present king, had in fact secretly murdered his predecessor, Prince Hamlet’s father. Then the prince devises and executes a plan to find out, and deems his suspicions confirmed; we in the audience get to be […]

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drama literature politics Shakespeare

Bad Shakespeare, Bad Politics: The Case of the Central Park “Julius Caesar”

1. Unlike most of those who have felt the need to express an opinion of Oskar Eustis’s production of Julius Caesar at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, I’ve actually seen it. I attended a performance during the third of the three weeks of previews that preceded its formal one-week run — a couple of […]

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literature Shakespeare

Is Othello Insecure?

W.E.B. Du Bois coined the phrase ‘double consciousness’ to name the anxious self-doubt that is commonly suffered by those for whom social success or acceptance is barred by hostile race prejudices. “The facing of so vast a prejudice could not but bring the inevitable self-questioning, self-disparagement, and lowering of ideals which ever accompany repression and […]