Hamlet’s character sets, under different shapes and extents, the benchmark against which a large part of the European philosophy of the very long «short twentieth-century» behind us has had to measure. In the name of Hamlet as the most enigmatic among Shakespeare’s creatures, even Europe, its spirit and destiny, is identified, according to the well-known claim by Paul Valery. Common trait to a big part of these interpretations – from the juvenile works of Pavel Florenskij and Lev S. (...) Vygotskij to Carl Schmitt’s Hamlet oder Ekuba. Der Einbruch der Zeit in das Spiel – is offered by the detection, in Hamlet’s figure, of the contradiction inherent to an epochal transition: the time of an unresolved passage between two ages that only knows the endless pain of an “interim”. My paper concerns the possibility to interpret Hamlet’s time as the time of an “interim” in light of Benjamin’s claims about Shakespeare’s drama contained in his book on the German Trauerspiel. While Florenskij interprets Hamlet’s time as tragic and the figure of Hamlet as a tragic one, in my essay - moving from some observations on the " Hamlet Problem " by the young Franz Rosenzweig - I consider the original Benjaminian thesis about the character and the drama of Hamlet as the end of the modern Trauerspiel. Starting from a statement by Theodor Adorno in the famed Hornberger Brief to Benjamin of August 2, 1935, I outline, therefore, how Benjamin characterizes the figure of Hamlet. This, from his early writings on the relationship between tragedy and Trauerspiel up to the great book on the Origin of the German Trauerspiel. In the frame of Benjamin’s interpretation, exactly by virtue of its distance from the thesis on the duality of tragedy, the Shakespearian theatrum of consciousness, paradigmatically represented in the figure of Hamlet and in the intimately dialectic character of his drama, is accounted for as necessary correlate of the Cartesian’s theatrum of consciousness. From a theoretical point of view, the Benjaminian characterization of Hamlet's figure reveals, therefore, something of the nature of modern consciousness and of consciousness in general in relation to the problem of truth and its representation. Hence the end of modern Trauerspiel coincides with the original incompleteness of its time. Consequently, I also claim Hamlet's dramatic figure to represent the aporetic characters of modern politics. This contrasts the thesis of Carl Schmitt who speaks, instead, of the Shakespearean drama as an expression of a pre-modern barbaric time. (shrink)
This article explores the contradictory nature of the ghost in Hamlet and shows how Shakespeare seeks to manipulate the reader’s response in Hamlet by using contradictions and ambiguities. The article also explores the ways in which the reader responds to these contradictions and reconstructs a palpable world in the impalpable world of the text. These contradictions compel the reader to participate in the composition of the text and make him keep changing his own approach to the work with (...) the result that the more he reads the play, the deeper he finds himself entrenched in contradictions. As he fails to grasp the logic of events, the reader relates his own world to the text instead of relating the events of the text to his world and recreates his own world. Therefore, he can easily detach himself from the text and let his imagination run loose as the play proves too vague for him to comprehend. In reading Hamlet, the imagination runs wild and travels far beyond the text to an extent where the reader perceives things, which stand not within but utterly outside the text. Eventually, the reality achieved by the reader in the course of reading the play is only the reality which dwells in the innermost recesses of his mind. (shrink)
As Shakespeare is closer in time and spirit to medieval psychology than to popular modern explanations of psyche, this article presents a fourfold analysis of ecstasy from Aquinas' Summa Theologiae to examine the characters of the play. I also suggest performance choices which make a variety of these ecstasies of soul more visible.
This essay sounds out Derrida's plurivocal term of frequencies as well as Nancy's understanding of resonance to argue that ghosts live in the ear. Heeding how the different nuances of this term bear on Derrida's reading of Hamlet, it not only seeks to understand the significance of the ghost's rhythmic appearance:disappearance in Shakespeare's play, but indeed, how it comes to frequent Derrida's Specters of Marx.
The traditional image of northern Iberian mountain settlements is that they are largely egalitarian, homogeneous, and survivals of archaic forms of 'agrarian collectivism'. In this book, based both on extensive fieldwork and detailed study of local records, Brian Juan O'Neill offers a different perspective, questioning prevailing views on both empirical as well as theoretical and methodological grounds. Through a detailed examination of three major areas of social life - land tenure, cooperative labour exchanges, and marriage and inheritance practices - in (...) one particular hamlet, the author demonstrates the predominance of forms of institutionalized economic inequality and social differentiation within the peasantry. Situating the local study within a wider European and Mediterranean ethnographic and geographical framework, O'Neill offers a refreshing and challenging way of combining the research methods of anthropology with those of social and economic history. His book will appeal to anthropologists, historians, sociologists, geographers and demographers interested in the present and past social structure of European village communities, as well as to those concerned with the growing links between anthropology and history. (shrink)
ABSTRACTWhile in the 1960s Allan Bloom suggested to read William Shakespeare’s works through the prism of political philosophy, a decade earlier Carl Schmitt used the works of English poet in a reverse way: he read political philosophy and history through Shakespeare. Deprived – under the influence of Leo Strauss – from the possibility of considering Thomas Hobbes a decisionist thinker, Schmitt in his ‘Hamlet or Hecuba’ used Shakespeare’s most famous work to interpret origins of disappearance of the state of (...) emergency from English soil. Shakespeare was seen by Schmitt as a writer who captured the Sixteenth and seventeenth century changes in thinking about sovereignty and the state. Interestingly, Schmitt did not use Shakespeare as method for the first time: in first decades of twentieth century, in his diary, he made ‘Othello’ a prism through which he read his love life. Because the author of ‘The Concept of the Political’ is one of the less methodologically cohesive writers of twentieth century, his usage of Shakespeare twice, in different circumstances, is interesting. In an article, author links ‘Hamlet or Hecuba’ with Schmitt’s geopolitical works and presents Shakespeare’s works as the coherent method of interpretation in Schmitt’s philosophy of decisionism. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to explore why Deleuze takes up Hamlet's claim that ‘time is out of joint’. In the first part of this paper, I explore this claim by looking at how Deleuze relates it to Plato's Timaeus and its conception of the relationship between movement and time. Once we have seen how time functions when it is ‘in joint’, I explore what it would mean for time to no longer be understood in terms of an (...) underlying rational structure. The claim can be understood as about a relationship between time and action. In the second part of this paper, I want to relate this new understanding of time to Hamlet itself, in order to see how temporality operates within the play. I will conclude by relating these two different conceptions of time out of joint to one another through Nietzsche's eternal return. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis essay introduces the notion of a literary clinical practice for which it remains essential to continue to consider those texts that open up a place for a readership, or audience, or even a civilization to consider the endlessly generative failure of its literature to write mental health. Concerned with mental illness that is an effect of language on the subject, the body, and of the enigma of the truth as cause, psychoanalysis is the crucial interlocutor for any literary clinical (...) concern with the maladies of literature and society. In order to re-assess the utility of Shakespeare’s Hamlet to contemporary problems such as depression – perhaps the dominant symptom of our time – this essay attempts a reconsideration of Jacques Lacan’s famous seminar on Hamlet from the perspective of the contemporary clinic of the Lacanian orientation in psychoanalysis led by Jacques-Alain Miller. (shrink)
ExcerptCarl Schmitt's Hamlet or Hecuba (1956) is a peculiar text. For one, it stands out as the only detailed interpretation of a literary work that Schmitt ever produced. This is not to deny Schmitt's overall erudition and familiarity with Western literature nor his particular interest in the intricate relationship between aesthetics and politics, all of which can be traced throughout his writings from the 1910s to the 1950s. But the fact remains that apart from Hamlet or Hecuba, Schmitt (...) did not employ close readings of literary texts as a means to elaborate on his politico-philosophical ideas. Hamlet or Hecuba is…. (shrink)
If Hamlet had not delayed his revenge there would have been no play. Many explanations of the delay have been offered in the last four centuries. None is convincing. The interpretation which best fits the evidence best is that Hamlet was suffering from an acute depressive illness, with some obsessional features. He could not make a firm resolve to act. In Shakespeare’s time there was no concept of acute depressive illness, although melancholy was well known. Melancholy, however, would (...) have been seen as a character defect. In the tragic model the hero brings himself and others to ruin because of a character defect. Thus, at the time, the play conformed to the tragic model. With today’s knowledge, it does not. This analysis adds to, but does not replace, other insights into the play. (shrink)
Hundred years ago, vernacular architecture once triumphed. Unfortunately, poverty and low education bring people facing difficulties in understanding their own culture, building techniques, and village management. This problem then leads them to a bigger issue regarding the alteration of culture and traditional architecture. Among all vernacular architecture in Indonesia, Sasak traditional architecture is one of the unique architectures that still exist until now. However, globalization issue leads the alteration of vernacular architecture includes Sasak tribe culture and traditional village in Lombok (...) island, including the traditional houses. This paper takes Sade Traditional Hamlet as a research subject to provide a deeper understanding of the importance of cultural values of Sasak’s living space and settlement. This research shows that the living space and culture of the Sasak tribe in Sade hamlet has evolved and transformed due to the space necessity and financial ability. Among the total 68 houses, 55.8% are the original houses of Sasak people in Sade hamlet, Bale Tani, 38.2% are the traditional modified houses, Bale Bontar, and 6% are the transitional houses, Bale Kodong. Gradually, Bale Tani change to Bale Bontar house. However, Bale Tani could still be preserved by the system of pattern relatives in the family and awiq-awiq as customary law. A deeper understanding of the house preservation, traditional material, and cultural values of Bale Tani should be taken to create a sustainable conservation method. (shrink)
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... (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show the role, the possibilities and the limits of Wyspiański’s national thinking through Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Of particular importance, in this context, is the role the Ghost takes in Wyspiański’s celebrated interpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. By the Ghost we mean the spirit of history, the ghost of a father, the spirit of the fatherland, the voice of the ancestors, and particularly that of the Polish king Casimir the Great, as well as the (...) Holy Ghost and the Evil Spirit because all these aspects of the Ghost belong to Wyspiański’s vision. The play in question bears witness to what the Polish poet calls “the truth of other worlds,” as well as the truth of the theatre, which Wyspiański calls the labyrinth. The poet manages to reduce, to some extent, this difficult truth to the truth of the world he cared most about, that is the present and historical reality of Poland, more specifically the city of Cracow, known as Poland’s spiritual, that is “ghostly,” and only virtual, capital. It is also remarkable that Wyspiański saw the Ghost in Hamlet in the context of other Shakespearean ghosts, apparitions and magicians, such as those that appear in Macbeth, The Tempest, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream or Richard III. At the same time, Wyspiański realizes that the Ghost, with its irrationalism, offends the spirit of post-medieval times, and as such, is understandably neglected by Hamlet, who for Wyspiański, in anticipation of Harold Bloom, stands for modernity. (shrink)
The writings of Stanley Cavell and Jacques Derrida share many points of intersection. One of these is their mutual interest in Shakespeare’s Hamlet; another is their assessments of J.L. Austin’s philosophy, and his concept of performativity. In this paper, we demonstrate that Cavell’s and Derrida’s respective essays on Hamlet offer a surprising insight into their views on Austin’s notion of performativity. Since Hamlet abounds with oaths and promises, testimonies and bearing witness, what is surprising is not that (...) these philosophers should have identified this theme but rather how they respond to it. We show that Derrida’s writings on Hamlet repeatedly draw and depend on the idea of performativity, amounting to a rapprochement with Austin’s concept; and we also show that Cavell questions the effectiveness of performatives in the play, in ways that sometimes resemble Derrida’s invocation of spectrality in the play. (shrink)
In his seminar on 'Desire and its Interpretation' Lacan gives a detailed interpretation of Shakespeare's Hamlet. We present this interpretation as an alternative to the psychobiographic approach which has been dominant in the psychoanalytic tradition. According to Lacan Hamlet is a poetic creation and nothing else. In order to understand it wedon't have to look at the unconscious motives of the author, but at the composition of the text. The deliberate articulation of the signifier accounts for the effect (...) of the play on its readers. According to Lacan Hamlet is a tragedy of desire that informs us onthe truth of human existence. It also shows how we can get access to this truth. In that sense Shakespeare's text can, according to Lacan, also learn us something about the aim of the psychoanalytic process. The conclusion argues that Lacan's interpretation of the nature of the psychoanalytic process is heavily dependent on the phenomenological tradition and more particularly that it ressembles the problematic of the 'phenomenological reduction'. (shrink)
ExcerptThe great dramatic work of art that bears the name Hamlet is, in the core of its action and the main character, nothing other than the dramatized story of a real king named James, James Stuart, son of Mary Stuart and her husband. James's father was murdered, and his mother married the murderer shortly afterward. What Mary Stuart, the mother of King James, did was bad, almost as bad “As kill a king, and marry his brother.” Shakespeare's Hamlet (...) drama is grounded then in a direct relation to the times. It contains the kind of dramatization that results from participation…. (shrink)
This article argues that Walter Benjamin’s aesthetico-political philosophy cannot be understood without reconsidering Hamlet. It elucidates Benjamin’s Hamlet via his theory of Baroque “mourning” and its counter-measure, the “Saturnine Dialectic.” It likewise offers an analysis of the 1877 Herman Ulrici edition of Hamlet, the German edition Benjamin cites exclusively. This analysis reconciles the differences in the secondary literature regarding Benjamin’s Hamlet, expounding upon the edition’s singular use of the word “foreordination”. Finally, by rereading Benjamin’s Hamlet (...) through Carl Schmitt’s Hamlet or Hecuba, it argues that Fortinbras’s succession, effectuated by Hamlet’s dying voice, conditions the repetition of sovereignty in Hamlet, betraying the emergence of the new. Despite this betrayal, the revolutionary potential that is sunken into the content of Hamlet is disjunctively brought to the surface by examining the “dialectical image” of Laertes’s rebellion, rescuing what I term the revolutionary-new from the jaws of defeat. (shrink)
This is an account of Ian Charleson's extraordinary performance in Richard Eyre's production of Shakespeare's Hamlet. The essay is divided into four parts: the original Hamlet in Eyre's production was Daniel Day-Lewis whose stirring but erratic portrayal strangely terminated in mid-performance; Ian Charleson's rehearsal process, including comments by actors and friends about his talent and courage in preparing for the role; Charleson's brilliant acting, his triumph in overcoming his physical weakness and ravaged appearance as he was dying of (...) AIDS; and personal memories of Charleson's November 3, 1989 performance. (shrink)
Every day doctors bear witness to others about the experiences, needs and feelings of their patients, drawing on what they have learnt from clinical consultations. This paper considers the medical task of bearing honourable and truthful witness through an examination of the role and actions of Horatio in Hamlet. Horatio is simultaneously located among the background machinery of the play, separate from the lives of the protagonists, and in the foreground, where his authoritative witness is repeatedly called upon by (...) the play's characters. Horatio is invited to watch an unfolding disaster, his warnings are not heard, and at its conclusion he stands apart from the drama to give its account. The tensions between engagement and observation, and between partial and impartial accounting echo those faced by doctors in everyday clinical practice. The act of bearing witness, Shakespeare suggests, even for those who are tasked with being objective, is necessarily imperfect, and not dispassionate. Those people, including doctors, who are expected to construct authoritative accounts of the motives and actions of others may find in Hamlet a small lesson on the need to approach their summary narratives about others more humbly, aware of the narrowness and partiality of their perspective. (shrink)
A partir de una lectura de Hamlet el autor plantea la relación entre el regicidio y el desorden natural, tal como lo entendieron la filosofía política medieval y su transito a la filosofía del Renacimiento. Se indaga en el vínculo de la locura, el extravío dramático y la deriva política, y sus implicancias en la visión moral del mundo presente en la obra. Esta lectura teatral de la política sitúa el problema de la dialéctica ocultación/de-velación de los textos, como (...) un asunto central de la modernidad. Estrategia y táctica están en la base de la actuación de matriz hamletiana como primicia del paradigma renacentista de gobierno y de la teoría moderna del Príncipe, aunque paradojalmente el drama de Hamlet lo viva providencialmente, como expresión del deseo universal de Dios. (shrink)
The human soul is for pre-modern philosophers the cause of both thinking and life. This double aspect of the soul, which makes man a rational animal, expresses itself above all in human action. Deadly Thought: 'Hamlet' and the Human Soul traces Hamlet's famous inability to act to his inability to hold together these twin aspects of the soul.
All people edit. We don't call it editing, of course. We call it thinking. Frogs think too. When a frog thinks'food', it looks for a moving dot; in a cage of dead flies, a frog starves to death. When something doesnot fit the category, it is not seen. Humans likewise. "Do you see nothing there?" Hamlet asks; "Nothingat all; yet all that is I see", Gertrude replies, exemplifying our difficulty with seeingthings not valued. The reason for such editing is (...) mental economy; given physiological computationallimits, operating with a limited set of categories and properties avoids cognitive paralysis. (shrink)
This essay investigates the rôle of the North Atlantic as a silent actant in the dramatic economy of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It takes the series of actions of Hamlet’s deportation by sea, his nocturnal transformation on board and his surprise return with the pirate ship as the axis around which the play turns. It examines the movement of deterritorialization and mimesis in the constitution of sovereignty by the ceaseless transference of piracy and inter-imperial rivalries and passages. Interpreting Hamlet (...) as being not just a play of nothingness and nihilism, born of and residing in the interstice of disjointed historical time, this essay argues that Hamlet is a play that inherits and inhabits the cranny of fractured historical space from Elizabethan to Jacobean England when the English isle became what Carl Schmitt called the “agency of the spatial turn to a new nomos of the earth.” The old nomos of the earth, terra firma in the Greco-Roman and feudal senses, was challenged by the new freedom of the sea which demanded a separate and distinct global order. This essay poses the question whether the dramatic economy of Hamlet as split by and revolving around the physical presence and symbolic charges of the North Atlantic in fact constitutes the irrhythm and mis-punctuation of this spatial turn toward a maritime modernity. (shrink)
This book assembles a team of leading literary scholars and philosophers to probe philosophical questions that assert themselves in Shakespeare's Hamlet, including issues about subjectivity, knowledge, sex, grief, and self-theatricalization.
One of the most popular facets of Schmitt's philosophy is his theory of sovereignty and decisionism, as developed in his early essay Political Theology (1922). There, Schmitt offers an original outlook on the political implications of the secularization of modern Europe and philosophy's purported turn away from theology. The “death of God,” along with the gradual disappearance of the political institution of monarchy, are only symbols of the decline of sovereignty in general. What is lost in the process is not (...) sovereignty as such, since it can assume new forms, such as “reason,” “nature,” “the people,” or “the state.” What…. (shrink)
ExcerptIn recent years, there has been a renewed interest in political theology that is not restricted to certain strands of political philosophy but concerns the humanities as a whole. Conferences and collections put to the fore the question of if and how our modern culture is to be understood in terms—however modified or displaced—of political theology.1 Some of the authors pursuing this question try to define new directions, along the lines of Jean-Luc Nancy or Claude Lefort, who present very different (...) and more positive notions of political theology than those that had previously been discussed with respect to Carl Schmitt,…. (shrink)
Resumen El presente artículo plantea la necesidad de un acercamiento histórico a los textos filosóficos tomando como ejemplo el caso de la propuesta ética de David Hume. Se muestra el interés de Hume por insertarse en el diálogo intelectual de su época y su propósito de integrar el método científico en las ciencias morales y cómo la crítica que hace a la razón debe ser comprendida bajo esta luz. Para ello se menciona el ambiente intelectual de la época y las (...) posturas en conflicto en el debate filosófico del siglo XVIII: el escepticismo-relativista, el racionalismo exagerado y el sentimentalismo ingenuo, señalando que, en el fondo, Hume no puede ser excluido totalmente de ninguna de estas posturas pero tampoco encasillado en alguna de ellas.This article raises the need of a historical approach to philosophical texts taking as an example the case of David Hume’s ethics proposal. It shows Hume`s interest in participating actively in the intellectual dialogue of his time and his intention to integrate the scientific method into the moral sciences and how his critique of reason must be understood in this light. To do this, we quickly mention the intellectual atmosphere of the time and the positions in conflict in the philosophical debate of the 18th Century: relativistic skepticism, radical rationalism and naive sentimentality, noting that, deep down, Hume cannot be excluded completely from any of these positions but not typecast in any of them. (shrink)