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Shakespeare: Hamlet

5. Metatheatre

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About this Lecture

Lecture

Metatheatre is a basic condition of Jacobethan amphitheatrical performance, not an add-on, and applies equally to tragedy and comedy – but it can be more or less active, and in Hamlet is constantly activated. The ‘antic disposition’, the public face of Claudius, the presence of the players and Hamlet’s advice to them, the inset-performance of The Murder of Gonzago in a plainly antique style – element after element directs attention back to the doubled awareness of the playworld and the theatre in which it is brought to life.

Course

In this course, Dr John Lennard explores Shakespeare's Hamlet. In the first module, we explore the idea of Hamlet as a revenge tragedy, and think about how Shakespeare has complicated the basic structure. In the second module, we consider the character of the Ghost, who is one of the most unusual ghosts in Shakespearean drama. In the third module, we think about the comparisons that the play insists upon, as well as the impact that "dramatic doubling" may have had on the play. In the fourth module, we look at the role of Hamlet himself, an exceptionally dominant and demanding role. And in the fifth module, we turn to the concept of metatheatre and its pervasiveness in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama.

Lecturer

Born in Bristol, and educated at Oxford and St Louis, Dr John Lennard has taught English, American, and Commonwealth Literature in Cambridge, London, and Jamaica over more than twenty years. He has written two widely used textbooks (on poetry and drama) and monographs on Shakespeare, Paul Scott, Nabokov, and Faulkner, as well as two collections of essays on contemporary genre writers in crime, science fiction and fantasy, and romance. Enthusiastic, discursive, widely knowledgeable, and a demon for punctuation (on which he has also published extensively), he has been a popular Summer School Course Leader and lecturer for the Institute of Continuing Education since 1992.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Lennard, J. (2018, August 15). Shakespeare: Hamlet - Metatheatre [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/shakespeare-hamlet-john-lennard/metatheatre

MLA style

Lennard, John. "Shakespeare: Hamlet – Metatheatre." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/shakespeare-hamlet-john-lennard/metatheatre