Chapter

. Shakespeare’s <i>Hamlet</i> and the Elusiveness of the Good

George Anastaplo

in Reflections on Life, Death, and the Constitution

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125336
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135243 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813125336.003.0014
. Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Elusiveness of the Good

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This chapter examines Shakespeare's Hamlet and seeks to understand the Good life. It notes that Prince Hamlet naturally preferred a private life, subordinating himself to the rule of others, and even courted Ophelia, which suggests an opening to domesticity on his part. It further seeks to explore the ultimate dependency of Good on understanding. It notes that in order to be able to conclude that the Good is elusive; one must have a reliable sense of what is truly good. It points out that whatever openness Hamlet had had toward domesticity seems to have been seriously disturbed by what happened to what may have been his model of a good marriage. It notes that his mother need not be considered to have been aware of the murder of her first husband, but her hasty remarriage can arouse suspicions that Gertrude and Claudius had had some “understanding” while King Hamlet was still alive.

Keywords: Shakespeare; Good life; Hamlet; Ophelia; domesticity; understanding; Good; Gertrude; good marriage; Claudius

Chapter.  1953 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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