From Shakespeare to Kierkegaard: an Existential Reading of Hamlet

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Shakespeare's Hamlet yields conveniently to an existential reading. Hamlet may be seen as the prototype of the modern European man who struggles in a "rotten" world. In Denmark, he finds himself in a Sartrean "void". As he struggles to overcome his "nausea" by trying to unmask men, strip them of their fine appearances and show them in their true nature, Hamlet passes through the three stages of life described by Kierkegaard: the aesthetic, the ethical and the religious. Since these stages are in contradiction with one another, there is a basic choice, an "either/or" facing man. Hamlet's actions or non-actions in the play can be studied within the framework of this context.

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Hamlet; Existential; Kierkegaard; Tragedy; Shakespeare

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