Philosophy and Literature 41 (1A):128-141 (2017)

The play's the thing,"1 Hamlet says in act 2, scene 2 of Shakespeare's finest tragedy. Hamlet is referring here to the forthcoming performance of The Mousetrap, the play that he has asked the newly arrived players to perform that evening in the presence of his mother and uncle. "The play's the thing," Hamlet says, "Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King". But it is not confirmation of his uncle's guilt as the murderer of his father that Hamlet really needs or ultimately receives from this piece of theater he has asked be performed but rather the clarification and redemption of his own confused and violent psyche.Hamlet is a character who spends the first two acts of Shakespeare's play alternately...
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DOI 10.1353/phl.2017.0026
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