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Shakespeare's Tragic Skepticism - Yale Scholarship Online
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Shakespeare's Tragic Skepticism

Millicent Bell


Readers of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies have long noted the absence of readily explainable motivations for some of Shakespeare's greatest characters: Why does Hamlet delay his revenge for so long? Why does King Lear choose to renounce his power? Why is Othello so vulnerable to Iago's malice? While many critics have chosen to overlook these omissions or explain them away, this book demonstrates that they are essential elements of Shakespeare's philosophy of doubt. Examining the major tragedies, the book reveals the persistent strain of philosophical skepticism. Like his contemporary, Montai ... More

Keywords: Shakespeare, Hamlet, King Lear, Montaigne, uncertainty, Othello, tragedy, social conditions

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2002 Print ISBN-13: 9780300092554
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300092554.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Millicent Bell, author