Hamlet annotated bibliography
**Aguirre, Manuel. “Life, Crown, and Queen: Gertrude and the Theme of Sovereignty.” The Review of English Studies 47.186 (May 1996): 163-174.
*Alexander, Peter. “The Complete Man.” Twentieth Century Interpretations of Hamlet. Ed. By David Bevington. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1968. 113-115.
Avers, P.K. “Reading Writing, and Hamlet.” Shakespeare Quarterly. 423-439.
Beauregard, David N. Virtue’s Own Feature. Newark, NJ: University of Delaware, 1995.
*Bevington, David. "Introduction." Twentieth Century Interpretations of Hamlet. Ed. by David Bevington. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1968. 1-12.
Bevington discusses Claudius as Politician, the character of Hamlet, Hamlet and Polonius as opposites, Hamlet’s delay, Horatio, pairings or “foils” between various characters, the language, and various metaphors (such as clothes). It is one of the best introductions to the overall play. ***
Topics covered: all main characters, procrastination, foiling, language/extended metaphors
Blincoe, Noel. “Is Gertrude an Adulteress?” ANQ 10.4 (Fall 1997): 18-24.
Blincoe explains both sides of the question, using the Ghost’s words to suggest Gertrude and Claudius were having an affair and also that the dumb show suggests she was not.
Bloom, Harold. Hamlet: Poem Unlimited. New York: Riverhead, 2003.
Bloom, Harold. “Introduction.” Modern Critical Interpretations: William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Ed. By Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1986. 1-10.
Bloom deals with Hamlet as the hero; Horatio, the source of the play, and introduces the other works in his anthology. He discusses the changed Hamlet at the end of the play, claims he uses “wise passivity” in waiting for Claudius to act. He also talks about Hamlet’s disinterestedness, which he calls a positive characteristic. Bloom also claims Shakespeare himself is great because he is so original; we can trace influences but not his genius back to precursors. Horatio is our surrogate in the play. *
Topics covered: Hamlet, Horatio
Booth, Stephen. “On the Value of Hamlet.” Reinterpretations of Elizabethan Drama. Ed. By Norman Rabkin. New York: Columbia University Press, 1969. 137-76.
Bowers, Fredson. Hamlet as Minister and Scourge and Other Studies in Shakespeare and Milton. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1989.
[This book more than any other helped me to understand Hamlet.] Bowers explains the difference between a minister—an agent of God—and a scourge—someone so evil he is already condemned to Hell, and suggests that Hamlet wants to be a public minister, bringing evidence against Claudius to an open court, but fears he has been chosen by the ghost to “revenge [his] foul and most unnatural murder” because he is already so sinful that he is past redemption. He argues for the Closet scene as the climax of the play (rather than the Mousetrap scene) and especially the killing of Polonius, since that act alone brings Laertes back from France, and it is only Laertes’ plot of the poison on the tip of the foil that actually kills Hamlet at the end of the play. He discusses how Hamlet has changed by the end of the play. ****
Topics covered: Hamlet, scourge/minister, climax of play, Laertes
**Burnett, MarkThornton. “Ophelia’s ‘False Steward’ Contetualized.” The Review of English Studies 46.181 (February 1995): 48-56.
Bradley, A. C. "Shakespeare's Tragic Period." Twentieth Hamlet. 13-21.
This is an older article. Bradley discusses Horatio’s role, and Hamlet as philosopher/ student/thinker. *
Topics covered: Hamlet, Horatio
Brennan, Anthony. Onstage and Offstage Worlds in Shakespeare’s Plays. New York: Routledge, 1989.
Briggs, Murray. “’He’s Going to his Mother’s Closet’: Hamlet and Gertrude on Screen.” Shakespeare Survey 45 (Annual 1993): 53-62.
Briggs includes reference to Zefferelli, Olivier, the BBC version with Derek Jacobi, and the Nicol Williamson versions. **
Topics covered: Gertrude, Hamlet, Ghost
Calderwood, James L. To Be and Not to Be: Negation and Metadrama in Hamlet. New York: Columbia, 1983.
Calderwood, James. Shakespeare and the Denial of Death. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1987.
Calderwood has two chapters of interest on Hamlet, one on mortal clothing in Hamlet and one on tragedy and the denial of death about fathers in Hamlet. ***
Topics covered: Hamlet, metaphors
*Cantor, Paul A. Shakespeare: Hamlet. New York: Cambridge, 1989.
Cantor attempts to find Hamlet’s place within the Renaissance, within the tragedy tradition, in Shakespeare’s career, within Christianity, as hero, as drama, as poetry, in the 20th Century. ***
Topics covered: Hamlet, metaphors
Carson, Ricks. “Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet.’” The Explicator 50.4 (Summer 1992): 198-99.
Carson’s short article relates to staging. *
Topics covered: staging
Charney, Maurice. All of Shakespeare. New York: Columbia, 1993.
Charney, Maurice. Style in Hamlet. Princeton, NJ: Princeton U Press, 1969.
This article discusses language style in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. *
Topics covered: language
Clemens, W.H. “The Imagery in Hamlet.” Modern Essays. 227-241.
Cohen, Michael. Hamlet in My Mind's Eye. Athens, GE: University of Gerogia, 1989.
Clemen, Wolfgang. Shakespeare’s Soliloquies. Translated by Charity Scott Stokes. New York: Routledge, 1987.
Clemen discusses why there are so many soliloquies in Hamlet and analyzes several of them. **
Topics covered: Hamlet, soliloquies
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. “The Character of Hamlet.” Enter Critic. 40-43.
*Council, Norman. When Honour’s at the Stake: Ideas of Honour in Shakespeare’s Plays. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1973.
Cox, Lee Sheridan. Figurative Design in Hamlet: The Significance of the Dumb Show. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University, 1973.
Danson, Lawrence. “Tragic Alphabet.” Modern Critical Interpretations: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Ed. by Harold Bloom. New York, Chelsea House, 1986. 65-86.
Danson claims verbal conflict reflects difficulties in the realm of action. From the beginning guards had a hard time communicating with the Ghost and thus need Horatio. He says language, like old rituals, old views of honor, have become corrupt and rotten in Denmark. Claudius’ oxymorons try to resolve irreconcilable differences. Hamlet’s puns are like linguistic confrontations that precede physical ones. “Time is the discreditor of all purpose and action” (74). He claims change/time can dull purpose. The “To be or not to be” speech reveals eternal dilemma, does fulfill dialectic. Most important issue is uncertainly/doubt. He analyzes play-within-a-play and its power (but plays are static and doubt inhabits our world of flux). He also says player’s summary has more impact than Hamelt’s passion. *
Topics covered: language, change, art, Hamlet
Davidson, Peter. Hamlet: Text and Performance. London: Oxford U Press, 1983.
Davidson evaluates which sections of Hamlet are often omitted in performances and the reasons for these decisions. *
Topics covered: staging
Desmet, Christy. Reading Shakespeare’s Characters. Amberst, MA: University of Massachusetts, 1992.
*Dodsworth, Martin. Hamlet Closely Observed. Dover, NH: Athlone, 1985.
Edwards, Philip. Shakespeare and the Confines of Art. London: Methuen, 1968.
Eliot, T.S. “Hamlet and his Problems.” Twentieth Hamlet. 22-26.
Eliot talks about the problem of the play and Hamlet’s madness. *
Topics covered: madness, Hamlet as character
Elliott, G.R. “Scourge and Minister.” Enter Critic. 58-64.
Evans, Robert C. “Friendship in Hamlet.” .
Felperin, Howard. “O’redoing Termagant.” Modern Hamlet. 99-116.
Felperin analyzes Hamlet’s advice to the players, which seems to reflect Shakespeare’s views. He discusses the purpose of playing in Hamlet in particular and Shakespeare in general. To hold a mirror up to nature refers both to showing scorn her own image (as in medieval tradition) and “the very age . . .” a realistic view (homiletic vs. mimetic modes). The play-within-a-play is supposedly about a real murder in Italy but is also symbolic/universal/allegorical. The Closet scene would seem more realistic but Hamlet speaks like a preacher, not a son. Thus Hamlet becomes a morality play. The Ghost is a character but also symbolic of older tradition telling Hamlet (or Renaissance drama) what to do. Felperin shows how archaic the revenge form itself is. He contradicts T.S. Eliot’s view that Hamlet is a flawed play by suggesting it is Hamlet the character who tries to impose the older models (revenge, morality) upon his own life but fails. He argues Shakespeare is not just part of evolutionary change in dramatic form (from archaic to modern) but consciously, creatively exploring archaism. Shakespeare does not invalidate older forms but subsumes them into his form. The changed Hamlet at the end rejects the role he was trying to play; the revenge hero is not the hero/villain. Felperin says Shakespeare resolves the paradox of convention (allegory/morality) and mimesis. **
Topics covered: art, revenge, characters, acting
Felperin, Howard. Shakespearean Represerntation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton, 1977.
**Fisch, Harold. Hamlet and the Word: The Covenant Pattern in Shakespeare. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1971.
Gardner, Helen. "Hamlet and the Tragedy of Revenge." Shakespeare: Modern Essays in Criticism. Edited by Leonard F. Dean. New York: Oxford, 1972. pages?
Gardner discusses Hamlet’s flaw and the nature of the revenge tradition. *
Topics covered: procrastination, revenge
Gardner, Helen. “The Historical Approach: Hamlet.” Shakespeare: the Tragedies. Ed. by Alfred Harbage. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1964. also in Shakespeare Tragedies 61-70.
*Goddard, Harold. “Hamlet: His Own Falstaff.” Modern Hamlet. 11-28. also found in Modern Shakesperean Criticism: Essays on Style, Dramaturgy, and the Major Plays. Ed. By Alvin B. Kernan. San Francisco: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1970.
Goddard explains some real life connections between Shakespeare’s life and the story of Hamlet (son’s name of Hamnet, death of girl named Katherine Hamlet like Ophelia’s). Hamlet is the best of Shakespeare’s characters, including the androgynous heroines, because he is the most interesting, most complex. Goddard challenges the common perception that Hamlet is right to want to kill Claudius and thus the centrality of the question of procrastination as the theme focuses on the paradox of the character of Hamlet and why this makes him great. He compares Hamlet to Fortinbras and Laertes, who are less interesting (perhaps because less ambiguous). A better way to interpret the play is to assume he should NOT kill Claudius. But we are supposed to expect him to kill on a first reading/viewing of the play. Hamlet is an obvious progression from Romeo/Hal/Brutus (all wanted to embrace joy/love/life) but fathers (or someone else) stood for hate/revenge/duty. The title of Goddard’s article comes from similarities to Hal and refers to the fact that Hamlet can play both Falstaff’s and Hal’s roles. He claims Shakespeare’s delegating the Ghost to the cellarage as evil suggests the Ghost’s admonition to revenge is misguiding Hamlet and he discusses the symbolism of the duel scene. He says that Hamlet responding by killing Polonius is instinct, not choice. And he says that clarity comes not from the actions of the play, but from its reflection upon action afterwards. He claims Hamlet is very modern in sensibility, that Hamlet’s accomplishment of his goal is really his fall at the end, reflecting the eternal struggle between imagination (art) and force (revenge). ***
Topics covered: characters, foils, art, symbolism
Goddard, Harold C. The Meaning of Shakespeare. Vol. 1. Chicago: Phoenix Books. 1970.
The chapter on Hamlet discusses the play-within-a-play, the Christian view, revenge, Hamlet as ultimate Shakespearean hero, anti-Freudian views, the ghost, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Ophelia, the players, the Mousetrap scene, Prayer scene, Ophelia’s death, the duel scene. ***
Topics covered: acting, Ophelia, Hamlet as character, specific scenes
Goldman, Michael. “Hamlet: Entering the Text.” Theater Journal 44.4 (Dec 1992): 449-60.
Goldman talks about the problems of interpretation to create a unified whole. *
Topics covered: modern criticism
Granville-Barker, Harley. “Place-Structure and Time-Structure.” Twentieth Hamlet. 27-31.
Greg, W.W. “A Critical Mousetrap.” Enter Critic. 72-74.
Habib, Imtiaz. Shakespeare’s Pluralistic Concepts of Character. Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1993.
Hart, Jeffrey. “Hamlet’s Great Song.” Smiling Through the Cultural Catastrophe. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001.
Holland, Peter. “Hamlet and the Art of Acting.” Drama and the Actor. Cambridge, England: Cambridge U Press, 1984.
Peter Holland discusses some problems with interpreting the role of Hamlet. *
Topics covered: Hamlet, acting
Holland, Norman. The Shakespearean Imagination. Bloomington, IN: Indiana, 1964.
This article is one of the best works on Hamlet so far. Holland discusses Hamlet’s delay, the ghost, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, parallels, Horatio and Fortinbras, the Players, Ophelia, Polonius, Gertrude, disease, food, nunnery speech, Pyrrhus speech, nationalities, revenge. ****
Topics covered: characters, acting, foiling
Hughes, Peter. “Playing with Grief: Hamlet and the Act of Mourning.” Comparative Criticism 9 (1987): 111-33.
Hamlet’s antic disposition is examined. Hughes claims the entire play is about mourning. *
Topics covered: death, mourning, madness
James, D.G. “The New Doubt.” Twentieth Hamlet. 43-46.
Jewkes, W.T. "'To Tell My Story': The Function of Framed Narrative and Drama in Hamlet." Shakespearean Tragedy. Ed. by Malcolm Bradbury and David Palmer. London: Stratford-upon-Avon Studies, 1984. 31-46.
Jones, Ernest. Hamlet and Oedipus. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1949.
Joseph, Bertram. “The Theme.” Twentieth Hamlet. 93-103.
Kastan, David Scott, ed. Critical Essays on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. New York: G. K. Hall, 1995.
Includes best essays on Hamlet written since 1965.
Kendall, Gillian Murray. “Overkill in Shakespeare.” Shakespeare Quarterly 43.1 (Spring 1992): 51-64.
Kendall discusses how everyone dies and the conventions of the Elizabethan stage. There is not much about Hamlet the play. *
Topics covered: staging
**Kerrigan, William. Hamlet’s Perfection. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1994.
Keyishian, Harry. The Shapes of Revenge. , NJ: Humanities, 1995.
Knights, L. C. “An Approach to Hamlet.” Twentieth Hamlet. 64-72.
**Landau, Aaron. “’Let Me not Burst in Ignorance’: Skepticism and Anxiety in Hamlet.” English Studies 3(2001): 218-230.
Lanham, Richard A. “Superposed Plays.” Modern Hamlet. 87-98.
Hamlet is two plays in one, the Laertes-as-revenge-tragedy-hero story and the serious play involving Hamlet. Shakespeare uses conventional dialogue for the revenge plot. Duplicity is evident as Laertes speaks of honor in the last scene while holding the poisoned sword. He claims Hamlet is Shakespeare “writing a play about the kind of play he is writing” (88). The language makes us aware of conventions. Even comments about child actors is about the overall theme of Hamlet, rightful succession. Hamlet would not have a problem “playing” his revenge (acting it out); it is the actual killing that troubles him. Shakespeare is saying we find the truth, reality, in the play. He also refers to another critic W. A. Bebbinton, who says Hamlet reads the “To be or not to be” speech from a book. Lanham claims Hamlet is always acting, presents the argument that Hamlet refrains from killing Claudius in the Prayer scene because no one is watching. Fortinbras gets the offstage introduction that Shakespeare likes to use for main characters but remains a cardboard character throughout. Military honor is a role like Laertes’ revenge duty; both roles are attractive to audiences, but Hamlet recognizes he would be playing a role and questions it as a motive for action. Lanham suggests Polonius is more central to the play than many critics think. **
Topics covered: foils, characters, art, acting, Laertes, Polonius
LeClercle, Ann. "Hamlet's Play within the Play as Palimpsest." Shakespeare Quarterly 43.1 (Spring 1992): 51-64.
LeClercle claims the play within a play is a reversal of court investure. *
Topics covered: revelance
Levin, Harry. "An Explication of the Player's Speech." Modern Critical Hamlet. 29-44
Levin analyzes the Pyrrhus speech of the player and its connection to Hamlet’s story. Levin talks about Shakespeare’s differences in style within Hamlet, asking if he is satirizing another playwright. He also asks what is the purpose of the play. The style is more like epic bombast than drama, more stylized than naturalistic. In the player’s speech the subject matter comes from the Aeneid, the same story as in Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage. Shakespeare turns the focus from Priam to Hecuba, and makes the connection between the War of the Roses and the Trojan War. Much material is more formal, uses simpler language and more Anglo Saxon words, in present tense vs. past. The soliloquy which follows this scene is a mirror opposite of the speech both in content and form. There is a contrast between the artificiality of the speech which makes the rest of the play Hamlet look more real. Levin also makes us aware of the play-outside-the-play: is there a Claudius in our audience? Shakespeare played the Ghost in Hamlet and traditionally that actor also plays the First Player, so Shakespeare may have been the first to deliver these lines. **
Topics covered: acting, foiling
Levin, Harry. “Interrogation, Doubt, Irony: Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis.” Twentieth Hamlet. 73-81.
Lewis, C.S. “Hamlet.” Shakespeare Tragedies 71-74.
Lewis, C.S. “Hamlet: The Prince or the Poem.” Modern. 301-310.
Mack, Maynard. Everybody’s Shakespeare. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, 1993.
**Mack, Maynard. “The Readiness is All.” 107-127.
Mack, Maynard. “The World of Hamlet.” Twentieth Hamlet. 47-63. also in Modern Essays. 242-262. also in Shakespeare Tragedies 44-60.
Maher, Mary Z. Modern Hamlets and Their Soliloquies. Iowa City, Iowa: U of Iowa Press, 1992.
Maher discusses versions by John Gielgud, Alec Guinness, Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton, David Warner, Ben Kingsley, Derek Jacobi, Anton, Lesser, David Rintoul, Tandall Duk Kim, and Kevin Kline, based mainly on interviews. *
Topics covered: acting, staging
Mangan, Michael. A Preface to Shakespeare’s Tragedies. New York: Longman, 1991.
Mills, John A. Hamlet on Stage: The Great Tradition. Westport, CO: Harper and Row, 1985.
Neill, Heather. "Suit the Action to the Word, the Word to the Action." Times Educational Supplement 24 July 1992: 18.
Nevo, Ruth. "Acts III and IV: Problems of Text and Staging." William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Edited by Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1986. 45-64. also in Modern Hamlet. 45-66.
Nevo claims understanding staging is essential to interpreting the play. In Acts III and IV Hamlet goes from being an ideal character for the state to a danger that Claudius can dismiss. Nevo connects the “To be or not to be” speech to the previous scene (passivity of Hecuba vs action of Pyrrhus). Is the main topic of the speech revenge or suicide? In 1st Quarto “To be or not to be” precedes entrance of the players. She argues against Dover’s interpretation of the Nunnery Scene that Hamlet may have overheard plot, thinks doubts about character (Hamlet’s own and Ophelia’s) are more powerful. Following the Mousetrap Scene, Hamlet misjudges and his actions do not have the effect he wishes. She discusses the arbitrary act division between III and IV used by most editors, suggests IV.iii would be a better transition in terms of themes. She also argues that Fortinbras’ war and Laertes’s potential insurrection parallel Hamlet’s desire for both public justice and private retribution. She claims the play ends in “faith in the value of a life’s integrity” (64). **
Topics covered: staging, act divisions, “To be” speech
*O’Toole, Fintan. Shakespeare is Hard, but so Is Life. New York: Granta, 2002.
Palmer, D. J. "Stage Spectators in Hamlet." Essays and Studies 47 (1966): 423-30.
Pirie, David. “Hamlet without the Prince.” Shakespeare’s Wide and Universal Stage. Edited by C. B. Cox and D. J. Palmer. Dover, NH: Manchester, 1984. 164-84.
**Poe, Edgar Allen. “Review of ‘The Characters of Shakespeare,’ by William Hazlitt.” Hamlet: Enter Critic. Ed. By Claire Sacks and Edgar Whan. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1960. 199-200.
Prosser, Eleanor. Hamlet and Revenge. Second edition. Stanford, CA: Standord U Press, 1971.
Prosser discusses the question of the ghost, Hamlet’s suicidal nature, the idea of scourge or minister, holding a mirror up to Hamlet, and the Renaissance Christian Humanist idea of the readiness being all. **
Topics covered: ghost, depression/suicide, scourge and minister
**Rank, Martha. “Representation of Ophelia.” A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts 36.1 (Winter 1994): 21-43.
Reiss, Amy J., and George Walton Williams. “Hamlet and Cucianus—Nephews to the King.” Shakespeare Notes 42 (1992): 3-4.
They speculate on which 16 lines were the ones Hamlet asked the Player to insert into the play within the play. *
Topics covered: acting, language style
Robson, W.W. "Did the King see the Dumb Show?" Cambridge Quarterly 6 (1975): 303-26.
Robson’s article discusses the importance of the Dumb Show in the Mousetrap Scene. *
Topics covered: acting, Elizabethan conventions
**Ronk, Martha E. “Representations of Ophelia.” Criticism 36.1 (Winter 1994): 21-43.
Rose, Jacqueline. “Hamlet—the ‘Mona Lisa’ of Literature.” Critical Essays on Hamlet.
Rose, Mark. “Reforming the Role.” Modern Hamlet. 117-128.
Rose claims both classical and Renaissance drama is concerned with fate, how our actions affect our ends. He says Shakespeare was equal to Sophocles in his ability to transform Elizabethan drama. He uses the language of the play, like Hamlet being tethered, to show how “his will is not his own.” He can’t leave Denmark and is bound by his promise to the Ghost. The image of Old Hamlet (in armor) fighting Old Fortinbras, ratified by law and heraldry, is an ideal Hamlet cannot attain with his confrontation (mostly verbal) or even the duel at the end. Hamlet looks for freedom, does not want to be like a recorder to be played upon (but will demonstrate he can play upon Polonius), doesn’t want others to choose the role he plays in his own life. Rose says Hamlet is not non-violent, not appalled by killing, but doesn’t want to be conventional in going about his revenge. Polonius’ family are all foils to Hamlet. Polonius’ advice is more closely followed by Hamlet than Laertes. In the end Hamlet finally allows himself to be played upon by higher power; he can be a collaborator only in his own changes. But at the end Hamlet takes vulgar/conventional role of revenger. **
Topics covered: fate, acting, foils
Rosenberg, Marvin. The Masks of Hamlet. Neward, DE: U of Delaware Press, 1992.
Rosenberg discusses various directors’ problems with staging. *
Topics covered: staging
Saccio, Peter. Shakespeare’s English Kings. New York: Oxford University Press, 2nd Ed. 2000.
Saccio, Peter. William Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Parts I, II, and III. Springfield, VA: The Teaching Company, 1997.
*Sacks, Claire, and Edgar Whan, eds. Hamlet Enter Critic. New York: Appleton-Century Crofts, 1960.
This text reviews various performances of Hamlet on the stage. There are also excerpts of articles on Hamlet’s madness, the Oedipal interpretation of Hamlet, the language or poetry in the play, humor in Hamlet. **
Topics covered: acting, madness, psychological interpretation, language, humor
Scragg, Leah. Discovering Shakespeare’s Meaning. London: MacMillan, 1988.
Sinfield, Alan. "Hamlet's Special Providence." Shakespeare Survey 33 (1980): 92.
Spencer, Theodore. “Hamlet and the Nature of Reality.” Twentieth Hamlet. 32-42.
Spencer discusses the appearance vs. reality theme and talks a bit about the Renaissance Christian Humanist idea of the Great Chain of Being and contrasts it to the Machiavellian view. He also discusses Hamlet’s state of mind through several soliloquies. **
Topics covered: world views, Hamlet’s character, speeches
**Stanton, Kay. “Hamlet’s Whores.” New Essays on Hamlet. New York: AMS Press, 1994. 176-181.
She analyzes the often quoted line “Get thee to a nunnery.” She gives both interpretations, with nunnery referring to a brothel or with Hamlet telling Ophelia she is too virtuous for this world and should be sequestered from the corrupt world of Denmark.
States, Bert O. Hamlet and the Concept of Character. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins U P, 1992.
States deals with how spectators experience the play and how ambiguous Hamlet is. *
Topics covered: staging, acting, ambiguity
Stoll, E.E. “Hamlet’s Fault in the Light of Other Tragedies.” Twentieth Hamlet. 104.
**Stoll, Elmer Edgar. Hamlet: An Historical and Comparative Study. New York: Gordian Press, 1968.
**Thatcher, David. “Horatio’s ‘Let Me Speak’: Narrative Summary and Summary Narrative in Hamlet.” English Studies 74.3 (June 1993): 246-257.
Tillyard, E. M. W. The Elizabethan World Picture. London: Chatto & Windus, 1943.
Tillyard, E. M. W. Shakespeare’s History Plays. London: Chatto & Windus, 1944.
Trewin, J. C. Five and Eighty Hamlets. New York: New Amsterdam, 1987.
Trewin discusses the various interpretations of the character and how it changes our interpretation of the play itself. *
Topics covered: acting, character of Hamlet
Visconti, Laura. "The 'Play' in Hamlet: the Primacy of Theater." Shakespeare Quarterly 43.2 (Summer 1992): 30-42.
Visconti examines the metaphysical nature of Hamlet, the character, and his originality in the play-within-a-play. *
Topics covered: acting
*Watts, Cedric. Hamlet: Harvester New Critical Introductions to Shakespeare. London: Harvester, 1988.
Watts discusses Horatio, Fortinbras, Hamlet, the ghost, vengeful sons (Laertes, Forinbras, Pyrrhus), Hamlet’s delay. **
Topics covered: characters, sons, procrastination
*Weitz, Morris. Hamlet and the Philosophy of Literary Criticism. Cleveland, OH: Meridian, 1964.
Weitz summarizes the seminal works of previous Shakespeare critics, including A.C. Bradley, Ernest Jones, G. Wilson Knight, T.S. Eliot, Francis Fergusson, J.Dover Wilson, and several other historical critics. He also discusses several issues raised in Hamlet and tries to categorize the different points of view in the Shakespearean criticism, based on the philosophy of the critic. ***
Topics covered: criticism, Hamlet
Wentersdorf, Karl P. "Hamlet's Encounter With the Pirates." Shakespeare Quarterly 34.4 (Winter 1983): 434-40.
Whitaker, Virgil K. The Mirror Up to Nature. San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 1965.
Wilson, J. Dover. “Antic Disposition.” Twentieth Hamlet. 105-6.
This is the portion of Dover’s book that deals with Hamlet’s madness. **
Topics covered: madness, Hamlet’s character
Wilson, J. Dover. What Happens in Hamlet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1935.
Wilson gives a good explanation about the ghost and about Hamlet’s madness. He also analyzes Gertrude, the Mousetrap scene, the turning point of the climax of Hamlet, the funeral of Ophelia, and the source for the players. ***
Topics covered: madness, ghost, climax, acting
Wofford, Susanne L., ed. Hamlet by William Shakespeare. New York: Bedford Books, 1994.
Wofford’s book provides samples of feminist, psychoanalytic, deconstructionalism, Marxism, and New Historian criticisms of Hamlet. Within these articles are discussions of Ophelia, the ghost, madness, and many other issues. ***
Topics covered: criticism, madness, the ghost, Ophelia, Hamlet
Woodhead, M. R. "Deep Plots and Indiscretions in 'The Murder of Gonzago.'" Shakespeare Survey 32 (1979): 151-61.
This article deals with the plot of the play-within-a-play, but not the staging of it. *
Topics covered: Mousetrap scene
Young, David. The Action to the Word. New Haven: Yale U Press, 1990.
Young has a chapter on Hamlet titled “Large Discourse and Thrifty Action.” His overall purpose is to study the structure and style in Shakespeare’s tragedies. *
Topics covered: language
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