4The Tragedy of HamletWhat matters most at the end of an important tragedy is not success or failure, but what a man is.Tragedy moves into the realm of the human spirit and at the end we contemplate the nature of man.
5Tragedy of Hamlet Horror and grief are used as entertainment. Tragedy uses them as truth.We must face them and as we face them, they lose their terror and the tragedy passes beyond them.
6Tragedy of Hamlet“It is not surprising, then, that the greatest tragedies are those involving the greatest horrors, for facing a great horror demands greatness of spirit.”
7Tragedy of HamletAt the close of the tragedy we are not so much concerned with Hamlet or Othello as individuals as with the spirit of man triumphant in defeat.(Introduction, Hamlet, p. xxiv)
8HamletIs Shakespeare’s best known and most popular play.
9English Renaissance-occurred during the reign of Elizabeth I ( )And the early part of James I ( )Renaissance means “rebirth”A renewed interest in “classical” valuesPeople moved away from ‘God” centred society to a more ‘human’ centred (humanistic) society, where earthly pursuits were considered important for their own sake.
10Denmark In the play, pictured as both A martial and imperial nationToday, Denmark is a peaceful, civilized little state that minds its own businessIt doesn’t annoy its neighboursIt is largely stable, healthy, and pacific
11In 1700 Denmark joined Poland & Russia vs Sweden) The last time Denmark deliberately entered a war of her own accord, in the role of aggressor (King Frederick IV)
12In Shakespeare’s time Hamlet was written in 1600 or 1601 King Christian IV was king ( )Ruled over some German duchies, all of Norway and portions of southern Sweden, Iceland and Greenland.It was still animperial nation
13Nor is it the Denmark of Shakespeare’s time That appears in HamletBut a far older Denmark,Even bloodier and more threatening and aggressive
14Hamlet, based on legendary material Reaches us in a book Historia Danica written about 1200 by a Danish historianSaxo GrammaticusIt gives an account of some 60 legendary Danish kings (some mythical Norse gods)
15Included in Saxo Grammaticus’ tales A bloody one (fictional) concerning a prince he called Amlethus (Shakespeare calls him Hamlet)It may have had its origin in dim tales of Vicking feuds.It includesA dead fatherA usurping uncleFeigned madnessRevenge
16Comparisons can be made While Hamlet the play contains not one clearly historical character or event,Comparisons can still be made with actual events in the 11th century
17Setting We might set the time of the play Hamlet as 1050. Kronborg Castle in ElsinoreThe castle still stands and Shakespeare’s play has made it world-famousIn fact, Hamlet is played in its courtyard occasionally.
19One Minute Shakespeare One Minute Hamlet – famous last nerdsHamlet the music video (Sir Laurence Olivier)
20Topics in Hamlet Death/dead bodies murder Suicide Disease Graves adulteryIncestSexMadnessSpying/mystery/intrigueDeception/betrayal
21Enjoying HamletExamines “the stupidity, falsity and sham of everyday life” without laughing and without easy answers.Appearance vs realityHamlet’s genuineness, thoughtfulness, and sincerity make him special
22Hamlet is no saintBut unlike most of the other characters in the play (and most people today), Hamlet chooses not to compromise with evil.
23Dying,Hamlet reaffirms the tragic dignity of a basically decent person in a bad world.
24Life “Hamlet” is the first work of literature to show an ordinary person looking at the futility and wrongs in life,asking the toughest questions andcoming up with honest semi-answers like most people in an imperfect world.
25While reading HamletWatch how Hamlet—who starts by wishing he was dead—comes to terms with life, keeps his integrity,and strikes back successfully at what’s wrong around him.