The Play’s the Thing: Ideological Contexts of <i>Hamlet</i> in 1599–1601

David Bevington

in Murder Most Foul

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199599103
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731501 | DOI:
The Play’s the Thing: Ideological Contexts of Hamlet in 1599–1601

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A close critical reading of the play in its original historical context suggests that it was an action play attuned to many current topics of keen interest: revenge, the role of Catholicism in English life at that time, Catholic dogma about Purgatory, violence, suicide, the reality of ghosts, providential belief in divine overseeing of human life, stoicism, madness, delay, the controversy about juvenile acting companies, and the fate of the Earl of Essex.

Keywords: revenge; Catholicism; purgatory; suicide; ghosts; divine providence; stoicism; madness; delay; boy acting companies

Chapter.  12676 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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