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Literary Criticisms of Shakespeare’s Hamlet Essay

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This essay will discuss several literary criticisms of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. After skimming through several articles, I ended up with four peer-reviewed journal articles, each a different critical perspectives of the play: feminist, psychoanalytical/freudian, moral, and new historicism. My previous studies of Hamlet, as well as my rereading of the play this semester, has collectively given me a general knowledge of the text. My familiarity of the play made it easier for me to decipher the academic journals and see the connections each critic made with the play.
I found it interesting, that after reading Hamlet so many times, that there were connections I never made on my own. For instance, the character Francisco only speaks nineteen lines in the beginning of the play, but Steven Doloff shows just how meaningful they are. Firstly, he “detects in Francisco's unexplained remark, 'For this relief much thanks, 'Tis bitter cold, / And I am sick at heart' (I.i.8-9),(1) a foreshadowing of Prince Hamlet's melancholy” (Doloff). Shakespeare created this character to indicate Hamlet’s prevalent sadness throughout the play. However, Shakespeare may have intended to give Francisco much more meaning. “The sentry's foreshadowing of the prince may, indeed, be seen to extend even further, by way of Francisco's embodiment of a figurative injunction against suicide, variously found in well-known works of Shakespeare's day” (Doloff). By looking back historically, Doloff finds a comparison of the guardians of ancient forts as dutiful protectors of man’s spirituality against suicide in a school book used during Elizabethan times. Unaware of this connection when I read the play, I wondered if people of Shakespeare’s time would be abl...


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...tions within the play. Others, point out the flaws within the play, offering solutions and revisions. Together, they create an interesting portrayal of Hamlet, combining to change a classic tale into one more modern.


Works Cited

Cox, John D. "Hamlet in Purgatory." Christianity and Literature 51.2 (2002): 279+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.
Doloff, Steven. "Francisco, Hamlet, and God's faithful sentries." Notes and Queries 44.4 (1997): 498. Literature Resource Center. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.
Safaei, Mohammad, and Ruzy Suliza Hashim. "Gertrude's Transformations: Against Patriarchal Authority." English Language & Literature Studies 2.4 (2012): 83-90. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.
Zimmerman, Susan. "Psychoanalysis and the corpse." Shakespeare Studies 33 (2005): 101+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 11 Dec. 2013.



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