Hamlet and Tragic Emotion

  • Indira GhoseEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Shakespeare Studies book series (PASHST)


This essay looks at how Hamlet investigates the role of the theatre, and specifically tragedy, in eliciting emotional response. I will focus on two instances in which the play engages with theatrical art—Hamlet’s response to the First Player’s speech, and the court reaction to The Mousetrap. One of the issues that Shakespeare explores in a play riddled with questions is: does tragedy make anything happen? Both defenders and detractors of the theatre postulate that tragedy has a univocal effect on its spectators. Shakespeare, I argue, is more sceptical, and points to the indeterminacy of art and the contingency of audience response.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of FribourgSwitzerland

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