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Hamlet's ChoiceReligion and Resistance in Shakespeare's Revenge Tragedies$
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Peter Lake

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300247817

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300247817.001.0001

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The (providential) purposes of playing

The (providential) purposes of playing

(p.110) 6 The (providential) purposes of playing
Hamlet's Choice

Peter Lake

Yale University Press

This chapter highlights how William Shakespeare's plays advert directly to its own generic mixedness and hybridity. It mentions Polonius' famous commendation of the players and Hamlet's disquisition on the purpose of playing. It also analyzes the extended speech that described Pyrrhus' revenge upon Priam as a language of speech that reproduces and parodies a certain sort of Senecan tragedy. The chapter describes how Hamlet starts out by aligning itself with Senecan models and prototypes. It discusses Shakespeare 's new version of Hamlet that was designed almost simultaneously to elicit, frustrate, and transcend a range of audience expectations. It also outlines Hamlet's instructions to the actors on how he wants his play acted that are framed against a satiric account that doubles as a denunciation of a style of acting with which the audience would have been familiar.

Keywords:   William Shakespeare, generic mixedness, hybridity, Pyrrhus, Senecan tragedy, satiric account

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