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Introduction to Hamlet

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Hamlet"— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Hamlet
The Melancholy Prince

2 Simpson’s Version of Hamlet

3 Enjoying Hamlet: historical background

4 The Tragedy of Hamlet What 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.

5 Tragedy 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.

6 Tragedy 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.”

7 Tragedy of Hamlet At 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)

8 Hamlet Is Shakespeare’s best known and most popular play.

9 English Renaissance -occurred during the reign of Elizabeth I ( ) And the early part of James I ( ) Renaissance means “rebirth” A renewed interest in “classical” values People moved away from ‘God” centred society to a more ‘human’ centred (humanistic) society, where earthly pursuits were considered important for their own sake.

10 Denmark In the play, pictured as both
A martial and imperial nation Today, Denmark is a peaceful, civilized little state that minds its own business It doesn’t annoy its neighbours It is largely stable, healthy, and pacific

11 In 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)

12 In 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 an imperial nation

13 Nor is it the Denmark of Shakespeare’s time
That appears in Hamlet But a far older Denmark, Even bloodier and more threatening and aggressive

14 Hamlet, based on legendary material
Reaches us in a book Historia Danica written about 1200 by a Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus It gives an account of some 60 legendary Danish kings (some mythical Norse gods)

15 Included 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 includes A dead father A usurping uncle Feigned madness Revenge

16 Comparisons 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

17 Setting We might set the time of the play Hamlet as 1050.
Kronborg Castle in Elsinore The castle still stands and Shakespeare’s play has made it world-famous In fact, Hamlet is played in its courtyard occasionally.

18 Kronborg Castle

19 One Minute Shakespeare
One Minute Hamlet – famous last nerds Hamlet the music video (Sir Laurence Olivier)

20 Topics in Hamlet Death/dead bodies murder Suicide Disease Graves
adultery Incest Sex Madness Spying/mystery/intrigue Deception/betrayal

21 Enjoying Hamlet Examines “the stupidity, falsity and sham of everyday life” without laughing and without easy answers. Appearance vs reality Hamlet’s genuineness, thoughtfulness, and sincerity make him special

22 Hamlet is no saint But unlike most of the other characters in the play (and most people today), Hamlet chooses not to compromise with evil.

23 Dying, Hamlet reaffirms the tragic dignity of a basically decent person in a bad world.

24 Life “Hamlet” is the first work of literature to show
an ordinary person looking at the futility and wrongs in life, asking the toughest questions and coming up with honest semi-answers like most people in an imperfect world.

25 While reading Hamlet Watch 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.

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