Presentation on theme: "Historical and Biographical Approaches in Practice: Hamlet"— Presentation transcript:
1Historical and Biographical Approaches in Practice: Hamlet Queen Elizabeth’s advanced age and poor health leads to the precarious state of the succession to the British crown.Queen Elizabeth by Nicholas Hilliard (1585) Hatfield House
2Hence, Shakespeare’s decision to mount a production of Hamlet, with its usurped throne and internally disordered state, comes as no surprise.
3Shakespeare's "Hamlet" was a remake of an already popular play, based on an episode from the Dark Ages, the lawless, might-makes-right era that followed the collapse of Roman-era civilization.Ophelia
4Ophelia’s characterization of Hamlet may be intended to suggest the Earl of Essex. The portrait of Earl of Essex
5Another contemporary historical figure, the Lord Treasurer, Burghley, has been seen by some in the character of Polonius.The Lord Treasurer, Burghley
6Knowing about eleventh-century Danish court life or about Elizabethan England is particularly germane to analysis of Hamlet.
7In Hamlet’s day the Danish throne was an elective one In Hamlet’s day the Danish throne was an elective one. The royal council, composed of the most powerful nobles in the land, named the next king.The third quarto of Hamlet (1605); a straight reprint of the 2nd quarto (1604)
8Hamlet, Gertrude and the ghost The custom of the throne’s descending to the oldest son of the late monarch had not yet crystallized into law.
9The charge of incest against the Claudius Although her second marriage to the brother of her deceased husband would not be considered incestuous today by many civil and religious codes, it was so to considered in Shakespeare’s day.Hamlet and Horatio in the Graveyard, 1839
10What is “melancholy” to Elizabethans? Nervous instability.Rapid and extreme changes of feeling and mood.The disposition to be for the time absorbed in a dominant feeling or mood, whether joyous or depressed.Hamlet and the grave diggers by Jean Dagnan-Bouverte
11If we examine Hamlet’s actions and speeches closely in an Elizabethan’s eyes, we will realize that at least part of Hamlet’s problem is that he is a victim of extreme melancholy.Ophelia drowned
12Different versions of Hamlet Kenneth Branagh as HamletHamlet in GermanyHamlet in GermanyThe Raj HamletShakespeare set in India
13Many Hamlets Laurence Olivier as Hamlet Mel Gibson as Hamlet, with Glenn Close as GertrudeKenneth Branagh as HamletRichard Burton as Hamlet
14Ethan Hawke as Hamlet, with Julia Stiles as Ophelia Campbell Scott as HamletKevin Kline as Hamlet, with Dana Ivey as GertrudeEthan Hawke as Hamlet