Hamlet! - Hausheer 1 Kristin Hausheer HR Introduction to...

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Hausheer Kristin Hausheer HR Introduction to Drama Dr. Hasler 19 April 2010 To be or not to be—that is the question: Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles And, by opposing, end them. (Shakespeare III.1: 64-68) The Enduring Complexity of Hamlet Throughout the play, Hamlet struggles with the heavy burden of revenge. The first lines of his second, most famous soliloquy echo this deep-seated questioning which continues to be explored in the 21 st century. Lines from the original Hamlet frame Tom Stoppard’s, Rosencrantz , but Stoppard’s existentialist play centers on the unfortunate characters of “Ros” and “Guil”. From their helpless perspective, the audience discovers Hamlet in an entirely new and powerful manner. Also notable is the German playwright, Heiner Müller, who crafted his postmodernist version of the timeless play as Hamletmachine . It is a highly condensed, evocative version of Hamlet that grinds the original text down to its skeletal frame. Hamletmachine provides a hauntingly accurate portrayal of the original play, summoning forth its soul in fewer words. In both of these refashioned plays, the central themes are conserved and explored beyond their original constraints. By analyzing these works alongside Hamlet , we come to a fuller understanding of the play and the doomed Prince himself. Dense fog marks the uncertain opening of Act I atop the battlements of Elsinore. The 1
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Hausheer specter of Prince Hamlet’s father has appeared outside the castle twice and spoken to no one. The soldiers who stand guard are terrified by the Ghost, thinking that its appearance bodes ill for Denmark. As Marcellus states, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (Shakespeare 1.4:100). After seeing the Ghost for himself, Horatio, Hamlet’s trusted friend from Wittenberg, urges him to speak with the Ghost as it will speak with no one else. Strangely enough, Hamlet is not altogether surprised at this news. That night, the Ghost appears to Hamlet and delivers a chilling message: “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown” (Shakespeare 1.5:46-7). Hamlet must now decide if and when to end his uncle’s life to avenge his father’s murder. The usurping King Claudius senses Hamlet’s unease and calls for two spies. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two friends of Hamlet, arrive from London to do his bidding. Hamlet rapidly ascertains their true purpose at the court of Elsinore and continues to “put an antic disposition on” (Shakespeare 1.5:192), masking his feelings from the King and all surrounding him.
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Hamlet! - Hausheer 1 Kristin Hausheer HR Introduction to...

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