Textual Integrity of Shakespeare*s Hamlet

January 20, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Performing Arts, Drama
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Why is this question from Hamlet still “famous”??? Because the play (it’s characters, events, attitudes and conflicts) has “textual integrity”… It has continuing and enduring appeal to new audiences

• • • • • •

• Agreement • Harmony • The way it “fits” together

Clear Rational Consistent Reasonable Believable relevant

• • • • •

Method Play Script Structure construction

O The unity of a text; its coherent use of form and

language to produce an integrated whole in terms of meaning and value. (p 100) • • • • •

Language features Literary devices Dramatic techniques Style Register

• • • • •

Believable Realistic No inconsistent actions or reactions Complete narrative Everything “fits” and makes sense – even the ambiguous bits 

• • • • •

Ideas and their importance Worthiness of knowing the characters Relevance of the actions and consequences Merit usefulness

O the features and elements of a text =

Language features Poetic devices Structure Hamlet’s soliloquy Religious symbolism and laws The “delay” Elizabethan (religious conflict) values and context A play-within-a-play A supernatural element Vs God = contrasting images / characters O Characterisation O Dramatic techniques O O O O O O O O O

O the extent to which it may possess an overall unity =

• Believable events

– when they’re all put together.. How important are all these things… • • • • • • • • • • • •

• Consistent and “realistic & human” characters

• Relevant & “timeless” themes and issues Language features Poetic devices Structure Themes / events / settings Hamlet’s soliloquy Religious symbolism and laws The “delay” Elizabethan (religious conflict) values and context A play-within-a-play A supernatural element Vs God = contrasting images / characters Characterisation Dramatic techniques…

…in giving the play it’s…

• Valid, interesting, controversial and ongoing appeal to different audiences, directors and actors

So… O Literary students and academics – people who are educated and “cultured” – people who like to go to the theatre – English teachers – historians – play and film directors – actors – and, other people who like to argue over what things (texts) “really” mean – all these people - they all… …LUUUUUURRRRVE TO ARGUE… (and sound very intelligent) ABOUT WHAT THEY EACH THINK ABOUT THE “REAL”, TRUE NATURE OF THE CHARACTERS AND EVENTS IN HAMLET!!!

In simple 21st-Century-teenage, non-board-of-studies, non-English-syllabus-jargon and plain-English-terms… Think of Shakespeare’s Hamlet as being the cause of arguments between readers (-- audiences –

directors – and, actors) in the same way that 21st Century texts cause you to “argue” with a friend (or frenemy) about things like:

Sparks “discussions” / arguments / debates about things like:

O The book is so much more

“believable” and powerful than the film O The film is not consistent with the book! O Katniss seems like a total b*%@ in the film – whereas, in the book, that’s not her character at all! O Team Peter!!!… tots 

Sparks “discussions” / arguments / debates about things like:


Kristen Stewart is a hopeless actress and is

nothing like how Bella should be portrayed!


Team Edward!


All the characters are so superficial and onedimensional!! None of them are believable at all!


I hate how all the supporting characters (especially the teenagers) are so stereotyped and “predictable”…

Hamlet… ??? Shakespeare uses dramatic and language techniques to make responders develop and form their own opinions, reactions and conclusions about the “true” nature (interpretation) of: • The characters: their “true” natures and agendas; • the events; • the consequences of the events;

It would seem that Shakespeare has deliberately and carefully

written the play (and… a play-within-a-play) so that the “truth” is ambiguous… this ambiguity is the thing that ensures that

• the conflict between the Christian values and the human “flaws” and superstitions;

you – and other readers - actors – directors –

artists – students…

• the sexual desires and relationships among the characters;

…will continue to “argue” about the play for a

• Etc..

This is the thing… “the play is the thing”… that

long time to come!

ensures its lasting appeal!

O A writer needs to have a lot of skill with: O language O narrative structure O characterisation O motifs O lexical chains O imagery O irony – juxtaposition – connotation – metaphor and

symbolism… etc…

to be able to develop lots of levels of ambiguity (and certainty of “truth”). If a composer isn’t skilled at doing this – there will be NO textual integrity!

Sparks “discussions” / arguments / debates about things like: O Hamlet is “acting” the whole time… he’s not mad at all!... O Hamlet is mad! He’s so paranoid and “messed up” in his grief about his Dad being murdered that he completely looses the plot! (pardon the pun )… O Hamlet is “in lust” with Gertrude… and she’s “in lust” with Hamlet… O Hamlet really does love Ophelia – and just “pretends” to hate her in an attempt to protect her…

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