Download Shakespeare’s Mortal Knowledge: A Reading of the Tragedies by Zulfikar Ghose PDF

By Zulfikar Ghose

Provides an unique examining of Shakespeare's tragedies, "Hamlet", "Othello", "King Lear" and "Macbeth".

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Extra resources for Shakespeare’s Mortal Knowledge: A Reading of the Tragedies

Example text

In the alternative which he projects, he is not responsible to facts but, like a poet, takes delight in the invention of imagery to pursue a 50 Shakespeare's Mortal Knowledge private vision, thus relieving himself from the obligation to participate in his immediate reality. It is not procrastination; the immediate reality is not exciting enough for him to perform what has to be an extraordinary deed - he is quite capable of action but, as with the pirates on the high seas and as in the duel with Laertes, Hamlet needs a poetic or a dramatic setting: if there has to be action, it must be carried out under the illusion of significance or for that extreme reason, survival.

The collected works of Samuel Beckett can be said to Hamlet: The Unweeded Garden 31 take place within the mind of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Beckett is not the only writer to have attempted the technique of apparent logical irresponsibility. T. S. Eliot did so. Indeed, apparent literal incoherence has been so common in twentieth-century literature that we accept it as a valid technique and are more inclined to raise our eyebrows at simple, direct expression. Hamlet's madness, projected primarily through language, while it serves the action at a literal level, is also an experiment in language.

And when the Players have gone, Hamlet is overwhelmed: Is it not monstrous that this player here, But in a fiction, in a dream of passion, Could force his soul so to his own conceit That from her working all his visage wanned, Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect, A broken voice, and his whole function suiting With forms to his own conceit? And all for nothing, For Hecuba! Seeing how a fictitious passion can elicit tears, for a moment Hamlet is led to entertain the belief common to human vanity that if a writer would only make one's own real passion his subject-matter then his fiction would 'drown the stage with tears', but by the end of the soliloquy Hamlet settles for what effect mere art might have 'to catch the conscience of the king'.

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