Report on "Hamlet and 'A Matter Tender and Dangerous'"

Report on "Hamlet and 'A Matter Tender and Dangerous'"

Report on Hamlet and A Matter Tender and Dangerous Presenter George Hsieh Introduction A. Motivation: To raise the issue of the r elation of the plays to early modern religi ous discourses. B. Religion presented in Hamlet is obliq

ue and inconsistent. Introduction C. Thesis statement: The religious incon sistency in Hamlet is able to be resolved from a historicist interpretation, and in wh ich the context of Roman Catholicism, N eo-Stoicism, and Protestantism will be in cluded to analyze Hamlets subjectivity. Roman Catholicism

A. The language and theology of Roma n Catholicism emerge most clearly in Ha mlet in the princes encounter with his fat hers spirit, where the Christian and spec ifically purgatorial context that Shakespe are creates for the Ghost is rather surpris ing Roman Catholicism

B. The historical context of Roman Catholicism in the 16th century England. 1. The influence of Catholicism is undermined by the Reformation. 2. By presenting the Ghost scene, Shakespeare may want to establish a sense of distance between the wo rld of old Hamlet and the official ideology of contempor ary England.

3. Hamlets dilemma results from the conflict between t he old society presented by the Ghost, in which he ha s to be a revengeful son, and his Renaissance self-co nscience. Political Relation in Hamlet A. Renaissance court is a world of humanist le arning, secular politics, and religious division, and the high aristocratic men are no longer bo

nd to the old religious traditions. B. Being shaped by the Renaissance Reformat ion, Hamlet unexpectedly finds himself displac ed from the center of the court and regarded a s a potential enemy of the state. Neo-Stoicism A. Stoicism counseled self-adjustment r ather than political activism and was dis missive or condemning of actual efforts t o change the social order.

B. An alternative offered by Claudius to Hamlet. Neo-Stoicism C. Stoicism plays as a refuge for Hamlet, but it never fully controls Hamlets behaviors. Hamlet s instruction to the players in Act III implies tha t [f]or Hamlet the theater is polity for which he prescribes an authoritarian government. Howe ver, by involving in the performance, in the wo rld of the play the ideologies of Stoicism and h

umanism are failing more generally. Protestantism A. Wittenberf is the source of radical Pro testantism, and by portraying the conflict within Hamlet, Shakespeare may thus r efer his audience to a contemporary soci ety in which the established church was t horoughly reformed and evoke Protestan t associations against the medieval Cath olic traditions still alive in the play.

Protestantism B. The emphasis on individual conscience and freedom may derive from the Protestant. C. Predestination. D. Political Activeness: [a]ccording to the Prot estant, the human subject of Gods grace was i n fact less likely to be politically passive than to

be active in the service of causes ratified by in dividual conscience. Conclusion Hamlet is characterized by the combination of religious radicalism and social conservatism, a nd the end of the play explains the difficulty of trying to establish the political bearing of Haml ets change, in which a revolution in the order of subjectivity assists him in bringing down a c orrupt government but nevertheless confirms hi

m as a defender of traditional aristocratic socie ty.

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