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‘Speech Falters Speech Flinches When Horror Lifts a Fist to It’: Action, Emotion, and Inertia in Three Hamlet Variations

  • Stephen ChinnaEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Shakespeare Studies book series (PASHST)

Abstract

Hamlet is always a character under construction, always a potential—both in the sense of those imagined nebulous Hamlets constructed from the pages of the text, and those many embodied Hamlets that may be seen in performance. While there have been numerous adaptations of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in this essay, I focus on three plays that treat Hamlet as a marginalised and mainly reluctant player in the revenge narrative: Howard Barker’s GertrudeThe Cry (2002), Heiner Müller’s Hamletmachine (1977), and my own When Salome Met Hamlet (2009). These plays explore to varying degrees some of the principal themes raised in Shakespeare’s text—particularly questions of power, subjectivity, Hamlet’s presumed inertia, and those frequent misogynistic outbursts expressed by the protagonist.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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