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Decentring the law in Hamlet

Dunne, Derek ORCID: 2015. Decentring the law in Hamlet. Law and Humanities 9 (1) , pp. 55-77.

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Hamlet, at once the best-known of all revenge tragedies and a significant departure from its predecessors, occupies a unique and complicated place within the genre of revenge tragedy. This article seeks to approach the question of Hamlet’s exceptional status through the prism provided by law and literature. Instead of arguing that Hamlet is more complex than his fellow revengers when it comes to legal matters, I demonstrate that Hamlet shows comparably less concern for the law and its intricacies. Despite that fact that Hamlet is unprecedented for the attention it has garnered from legal critics, I seek to demonstrate how Shakespeare deliberately downplays questions of law and justice throughout his most famous revenge tragedy. In the process, I suggest that other revenge tragedies of the period have far more to say on the subject of early modern law, but have suffered unfairly through comparison with Shakespeare's melancholy prince.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1752-1483
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2022 09:57

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