Hamlet: Literary criticism

Stanley Wells (1993, Shakespeare Survey) on Hamlet himself Oedipus complex-‘Hamlet was in love with his mother and inhibited from killing his rival’
Stanley Wells (1993, Shakespeare Survey) on Polonius’ relationship with Ophelia ‘On stage we see Ophelia being looked at by Polonius with the intensity of a jealous father’
Leonard Tennenhouse (Power in Hamlet) on Claudius ‘He (Claudius) has taken the position through the effective use of force’
William Camden (1586, actually speaking of Richard III but applies to Claudius) ‘He was a bad man, but a good king’
Olaf Loske (Outrageous Fortune) on Claudius ‘There emerges a king who is well qualified for office’ (on Claudius)
Peter Davison (The comedy of ‘Hamlet’) on Hamlet himself ‘Hamlet’s wit, his power of mind, takes expression in both his attempt to puzzle out the meaning of life and death, and in his humour’
Lee Edwards on the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia ‘We can imagine Hamlet’s story without Ophelia, but Ophelia literally has no story without Hamlet’.
Elaine Showalter on Ophelia’s death ‘Drowning was a typically feminine death’
Millicent Bell on Hamlet himself ‘Hamlet’s desire for suicide…derives from the discrepancy between what is felt and what is done.’
Carol Thomas Neely (feminist critic) on Ophelia ‘Until her madness, Ophelia scarcely exists outside of men’s use of her.
Rebecca Smith (feminist critic) on Gertrude ‘neither structure nor content [of Gertrude’s speeches] suggests the wantonness [attributed to her by the play’s masculine perspective].’
Ian Johnson on Polonius ‘Polonius has the best interests of his family and his monarch at heart’
T.S. Eliot on Gertrude ‘She (Gertrude) is insufficient as a character to carry the weight of the effect she generates’
Coleridge (poet)-1818 on Ophelia ‘The sweet girl (Ophelia) was not acting a part of her own, but was a decoy’

You Might Also Like