No less is claimed by this boldly original and richly stimulating book than that the last two hundred years, in fact the generations after Goethe, Coleridge, Bradley, and Laurence Olivier, have bequeathed us a Hamlet that, in Margreta de Grazia’s words, ‘barely comes into contact with the play from which it emerges’ (p. 1): that is, a prince whose ‘deep and complex inwardness’ was ‘perceived as the play’s salient feature’, as it had not been in the two centuries after the play’s first performance. It is this Hamlet de Grazia wants to do without and to focus instead on a protagonist who, she believes, has been ignored ever since the ‘discovery’ of the romantic individual who appears to have replaced him. In view of the lively international discussions on Hamlet and on Hamlets, one feels at times tempted to interrupt with ‘the lady doth protest too much, methinks’; for not all the points she is anxious to make have, in fact, been overlooked by post-Bradleyan critics, and ‘Hamlet’s intransitive inwardness’ has by no means monopolized literary nor, even less, theatrical readings. Yet, all in all, de Grazia makes a most eloquent and persuasive case for her premise, which is that at the outset of the play Hamlet finds himself dispossessed and disinherited, though publicly and legally (as it would have been impossible in a hereditary monarchy like England’s), so that any open protest against Claudius’ de facto usurpation would have amounted to high treason. Hamlet’s ‘antic disposition’, thus, provides a protection in a more literal and political sense than has often been recognised, and his tragedy is not only that of an adolescent afflicted with melancholy or Oedipus complex, but of a legitimate heir to the crown betrayed of his heritage and of a kingdom whose historical foundations and political status are being undermined. De Grazia firmly puts Hamlet back to where, she believes, he originally belonged: the land and the soil of Denmark, and this, at a stroke, opens an unexpected plenty of new vistas.
Seiten 403 - 405
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