Hamlet Cheeky AO5

Dr. Johnson (1765) on Hamlet rather an instrument than an agent
Joseph Addison (1711) on the Ghost Who can read the speech with which young Hamlet accosts him without trembling?
Dr. Johnson (1765) on madness the pretended madness of Hamlet causes much mirth, the mournful distraction of Ophelia fills the heart with tenderness
Dr. Johnson (1765) on the death of the king poetical justice
Johann Von Goethe (1774) on Hamlet A beautiful, pure, noble, and most moral nature, without the strength of nerve which makes the hero, sinks beneath the burden which it cannot throw off; every duty is holy to him – this too hard
Johann Von Goethe (1774) on Ophelia in the innocence of insanity she solaces herself, unmindful of king or queen, with the echo of her loose and well-beloved songs
Dr. Johnson (1765) on the play too horrible to be read or uttered
George Steevens (1778); it is most important to point out the immoral tendency of his character
A.W. Schlegel (1808) on Hamlet Hamlet has no firm belief either in himself or in anything else
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1827) on Hamlet’s intelligence great, enormous intellectual activity, and a consequent proportionate aversion to real action
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1827) on the play Shakespeare wishes to impress upon us the truth, that action is the chief end of existence
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1827) on Polonius & Hamlet Polonius is a man of maxims … You see, Hamlet, as a man of ideas, despises him
Herman Ulrici (1839) on Claudius Even though the King were trebly a fratricide, in a Christian sense it would still be a sin to put him to death with one’s own hand, without a trial and without justice
G.H. Lewes (1855) on Hamlet a great meditative mind obstinately questioning fate
Friedrich Nietzsche (1872) on Hamlet speaks more superficially than he acts
Friedrich Nietzsche (1872) on Hamlet post-Ophelia the truth once seen, man is aware everywhere of the ghastly absurdity of existence, comprehends the symbolism of Ophelia’s fate … nausea invades him
John Bayley (1830) on Hamlet an element of evil in the state of Denmark
John Bayley (1830) on Claudius had Hamlet forgotten both the Ghost’s commands, it would have been well, since Claudius is a good king, and the Ghost but a minor spirit
Sigmund Freud (1900) on the play the play is based upon Hamlet’s hesitation in accomplishing the task of revenge assigned to him
T.S. Eliot (1920) on Hamlet as problematic Hamlet the play is the primary problem, and Hamlet the character only secondary
T.S. Eliot (1920) on Hamlet’s madness the “madness” of Hamlet was feigned in order to escape suspicion, and successfully
T.S. Eliot (1920) on Gertrude; ‘Hamlet’ is a play dealing with the effect of a mother’s guilt upon her soul
T.S. Eliot (1920) on Gertrude & Hamlet Hamlet is up against the difficulty that his disgust is occasioned by his mother, but that his mother is not an adequate equivalent for it; his disgust exceeds and envelops her
T.S. Eliot (1920) on the play the play is most certainly an artistic failure
Ernest Jones (1922) on Hamlet’s hypocritical misogyny He can forgive a woman neither her rejection of his sexual advances nor, still less, her alliance with another man
Ernest Jones (1922) on Hamlet’s inaction paralysis arises, however, not from physical or moral cowardice, but from that intellectual cowardice, that reluctance to dare the exploration of the human soul
Ernest Jones (1922) on the Oedipus Complex Hamlet seems more or less to have weaned himself off from her (his mother) and to have fallen in love with Ophelia
Carolyn Heilbrun (1957) on Gertrude and the Oedipus complex Indeed, [Sigmund] Freud and [Ernest] Jones see her, the object of Hamlet’s oedipal complex, as central to the motivation of the play
Carolyn Heilbrun (1957) on Gertrude’s culpability the critics are agreed that Gertrude was not party to the late King’s murder and indeed knew nothing of it, a point on which the clear evidence of the play is indisputable
Carolyn Heilbrun (1957) on Gertrude’s reaction to Ophelia’s death She is the only one present decently mourning the death of someone young, and not heated in the fire of some personal passion
Linda Welshimer Wagner (1963) on Ophelia’s importance Ophelia grew to assume greater importance for the audience of Hamlet than she ever held for Hamlet himself, or for Shakespeare
Linda Welshimer Wagner (1963) on Ophelia’s memorability Shakespeare permits us to forget her, in the midst of other absorbing problems
Linda Welshimer Wagner (1963) on The Queen; her simple, rather carnal attitudes have lead her into deepest sin
L.S. Champion (1966) on Hamlet’s relationship with Laertes Laertes’ aggressiveness acts as a foil to Hamlet’s lethargy
L.S. Champion (1966) on Laertes and the king the king regains his presence of mind and, as noted above, is able to cope with and master Laertes’ passion
John M. Major (1969) on Claudius willing to endure insults and even threats to his safety rather than commit a second terrible crime, the consequences of which even he could not escape
John M. Major (1969) on Claudius the villain If in the very struggle to repent for having murdered his brother, Claudius is contemplating the murder of that brother’s son, we are forced to look on him as perhaps the most hardened, soulless villain in all of Shakespeare
John M. Major (1969) on Claudius’ prayer it is illogical to maintain that Claudius, in his soliloquy in the prayer scene, is withholding from the audience his plan for Hamlet’s murder. It is also unfair to Claudius
John M. Major (1969) on Claudius’ restraint he deliberately refrained from ordering Hamlet’s murder even after he knew from the Mousetrap that Hamlet would probably destroy him
R.W. Hamilton (1991) on Claudius in the terms that Shakespeare finally deploys in the play, the killing of Claudius is at once wrong and insufficient
R.W. Hamilton (1991); killing Claudius is a public duty; justice, not revenge
Janet Adelman (1992) on The Queen the cause of Hamlet’s collapse
Shihoko Hamada (1996) on Hamlet the combination of extreme grief and madness is an essential design for the character of Hamlet
Shihoko Hamada (1996) on Ophelia’s madness Unable to bear the loss of her true love, Hamlet, who has deserted her, and reeling from the death of her father, she becomes mad
Shihoko Hamada (1996) on female responsibility Can it be said that the women incited madness in both protagonists to a certain degree?
Shihoko Hamada (1996) on the death of Hamlet Hamlet’s final image is “most royal”. He can be cleansed of his madness by sacrificing Ophelia
Shihoko Hamada (1996) on Gertrude and Hamlet Hamlet condemns his mother’s remarriage, but never admits her natural desires
Gillian Gill (1998) on Ophelia how could she be anything but suggestible and hysterical when her sexual instincts have been castrated, her sexual feelings, representatives and representations forbidden?
Frank Kermode (2003) on the play it is not only Hamlet but his play that delays
Frank Kermode (2003) on Gertrude Hamlet links his mother’s lack of discrimination – her preference for Claudius over her husband – to inordinate sexual appetite
Jonathan Bate (2007) on Hamlet and murder If Hamlet were to become a killing machine like Pyrrhus, he would be diminishing himself to the inhumanity of his adversary, thereby emotionally destroying his mother
Jonathan Bate (2007) on Hamlet’s inaction For the Romantics such as Goethe or Coleridge, Hamlet was the archetype of the sensitive man, paralysed into inaction by his sheer capacity for thought

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