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Four Diseases of Social Speech in ‘Hamlet’ | Early Modern and Open Access

By November 15, 2015 No Comments
This is part of a weekly series here at TSS: Early Modern and Open Access regularly showcases peer-reviewed articles (or other resources) of interest to early modernists that are freely available in open access formats.

Citation and Link:

Andrew Russ, “Four Diseases of Social Speech in Hamlet,” in APPOSITIONS: Studies in Renaissance/ Early Modern Literature & Culture 3 (2010).

First Paragraph (in lieu of an abstract):

The vast multitudes of Hamlet studies almost predominantly concern themselves with the central figure of Hamlet himself. Outside of this figure, very little attention has been payed to the swirling political malefactions that surround the Danish Prince in the play. This article explores the effect that events occurring outside of Hamlet’s mammoth personality have on informing his selfhood, and conversely how his character sheds light upon those social ills that comprise his immediate environment. By running the gamut of major political disturbances, war (the threat of Fortinbras), revolution (the humanist learning of Hamlet and Horatio), civil disorder (the coup of Laertes) and social degeneration (the corruption of Claudius’ court), the play is not just a masterful drama but a sophisticated meditation on politics. These crises being concentrated around the figure of an uncommonly loquacious and anxious Prince, suggests that these crises are indeed social anxieties of speech.

Shani Bans

Author Shani Bans

Shani Bans is an assistant editor at TSS and a PhD candidate at University College London. Her thesis, 'Optics in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries' - explores the relationship between optics and literature in early modern Europe, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Her other interests include: the culture of dissection in early modern drama, representation of ugly women; early modern science, medicine and technology; the history of Shakespearean criticism; Sidney circle; Miguel de Cervantes, Michel de Montaigne; Virginia Woolf; Hergé; Derrida and epistolarity.

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