Journal Article

<i>Hamlet</i> and the Reformation of the Eucharist

Mark S. Sweetnam

in Literature and Theology

Volume 21, issue 1, pages 11-28
Published in print March 2007 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online February 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frl059
Hamlet and the Reformation of the Eucharist

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In recent work, critics have found it a fruitful exercise to read Shakespeare as a writer who is interested in the effects and implications of the English Reformation, and who makes very effective use of the theatrical possibilities of Catholic liturgy and ritual. This article attempts to read Hamlet in this historically contextualised manner. Whilst it does not suggest that the multiplicities of meaning in the play can be easily collapsed into a simple defence of the doctrine of transubstantiation, and the Eucharist of traditional Catholicism, it does argue that Hamlet, is a play in which the politics and theology of commemoration occupy a central position, a text that mobilises the extraordinary signifying power of the Eucharist in its attempt to dramatise the cultural impact of the reformation.

Journal Article.  7739 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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