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Flashcards in Hamlet Critics Deck (24)
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1

Aristotle

What did neo-classicists say about Aristotle and hamlet?

“Tragedy is the imitation of action”
(Neo-classicists such as Thomas Ryder criticised Hamlet for not following Aristotle’s dramatic theory)

2

Thomas Hanmer (1736)
(Hamlet’s cruelty towards Claudius praying)

“so unworthy of a hero”

3

Thomas Hanmer 1736
(Hamlet’s lack of action)

“If Hamlet had not delayed, there would have been an end to our play”

4

Dr Johnson 1765
(Hamlet’s character)

“A man overwhelmed with the magnitude of his own purposes”

5

William Hazlitt (Romantic)
(Hamlet as Everyman)

“it is we who are Hamlet”

6

Samuel Coleridge - Romantic critic
(Hamlet)

“[Hamlet] is an intellectual who thinks too much and can’t make up his mind”

7

Lamb - Romantic critic
(Hamlet)

“Shy, negligent, retiring Hamlet”

8

Goethe (Romantic)
(Hamlet’s actions)

“the effects of a great action laid upon a soul unfit for the performance of it”

9

Henry Mackenzie - Romantic critic
(Hamlet)

“With the strongest purposes of revenge, he is irresolute and inactive”

10

Catherine Belsey 1979
(Revenge)

“Revenge exists in the margin between justice and crime”

11

Freud - 20th C critic
(Hamlet) - x2 quotes

“Oedipus complex”
“Hamlet sees himself mirrored in his uncle and doesn’t want to kill a part of himself”

12

AC Bradley (20th C)
(Hamlet’s delay)

“a man who at any other time and in other circumstances… would have been perfectly equal to his task”

13

C.S. Lewis - 20th C critic
(Hamlet)

“An Everyman character who is haunted by original sin and fear of death”

14

Dover Wilson (20th C)
(Ghost)

Hamlet and audience are “left with uncertainty about the ‘honesty’ of the Ghost”

15

G. Wilson Knight (20th C)
(Denmark)

“Hamlet is an element of evil in the state of Denmark”

16

Richardson - Romantic critic
(Whole play)

“Dramatising the conflict between a sensitive individual, and a calloused, seamy world”

17

David Leverenz - late 20th C critic
(Ophelia’s death)

“Ophelia’s suicide is a microcosm of the male world’s banishment of the female”

18

John Holloway (Marxist)
(Tragedy)

“it is less a political tragedy and much more in the wider sense a domestic one”

19

JW Lever (Marxist)
(Tragedy)

“the fundamental flaw is the world they inhabit: in the political state”

20

Linda Bamber (Feminist)
(Ophelia)

Ophelia is not fully developed = just an artistic device to indicate Hamlet’s psychological state

21

Rebecca Smith (Feminist)
(Polonius)

“Polonius seems to love his children; he seems to have the welfare of the kingdom in mind. His means of actions, however, are totally corrupt”

22

Rebecca Smith (Feminist)
(Polonius’s nature towards Ophelia)

“Trained his daughter to be obedient and chaste and is able to use her as a piece of bait for spying”

23

Emi Hamana (21st C)
(Ophelia)

“suffers a series of patriarchal oppressions“

24

Alan Sinfield (Historicist)
(Religion)

believes play is shaped by confusion of conflicting Catholic and Protestant beliefs at the time