Fendt, Gene. Is Hamlet
a Religious Drama? An Essay on a Question in Kierkegaard. Marquette
Studies in Philosophy 21. Milwaukee: Marquette UP, 1999.
HAMLET / MARXISM / METAPHYSICS / THEOLOGICAL
This monograph begins by surveying the different definitions
of religious drama. Chapters two and three discuss the "scholarly
cruxes" of Hamlet (e.g., Hamlet's delay) and evokes
Aristotle and Aquinas to assist in comprehending "what a religious
understanding of Hamlet might be" (16). Chapters four and five
explore the contrast between Hamlet and Kierkegaard's and
Taciturnus' writings on religious art, "examine the metaphysical
and philosophical presuppositions of the ordinary understanding of
religious drama as representations bearing on dogmatic truths,"
and "show how Kierkegaard's indirect communication seeks to avoid
that philosophical problematic" (16). The last chapter uses Bataille's
theories of religious economies to argue Hamlet's status
as a religious drama.
Levy, Eric P. “Universal Versus Particular: Hamlet and the
Madness in Reason.” Exemplaria 14.1 (Spring 2002): 99-125.
METAPHYSICS / PSYCHOANALYTIC
This study contends that the play
“dramatizes the strife or competition between two modes of thought:
one explains the particular by reference to the universal(s) it
exemplifies,” “principles that have absolute generality”; “the
other apprehends the particular in terms of its incommunicable
uniqueness,” or the “absolute singularity” (100-01). The
article tests Aristotelian and Freudian schemas, while probing “the
antagonism between the two modes of knowing operant in the play”
(101). Unfortunately, the “[. . .] Freudian theory is no more capable
of rescuing singularity from subsumption in the universal than is the
Aristotelian-Thomist doctrine of reason,” as both “great intellectual
systems [. . .] formulate the individual in terms of
universals”—emphasizing “the magnitude of the problem. In this
context, the power of Hamlet to express the human predicament
on the epistemological level can be more completely appreciated.
Perhaps nowhere else in literature are the plight of singularity and
the function of pity more profoundly and movingly portrayed” (125).
Wright, Eugene P. Hamlet:
From Physics to Metaphysics. Hamlet Studies 4 (1992):
HAMLET / METAPHYSICS / PHILOSOPHICAL
This article analyzes Hamlets struggle with the spiritual
mystery of the nature of the cosmos, the nature of mankind, and mankinds
relationship with the cosmos (20). Hamlet initially views the
cosmos as a chaotic garden, but he discovers evidence of moral
order in the grave yard (23). The unearthed skulls provide tangible
evidence, showing clearly that emphasis upon things physical [e.g.,
material gains, heroic deeds, death] is useless and insignificant
(24). His shift to metaphysical contemplation is based upon his
understanding of the physical (25). Although not a product of
distinct logic, the conclusion Hamlet comes to is that indeed
a moral order of the universe does exist and that he, and by implication
all humans, must act in accordance with that order (22). Ultimately,
Hamlet uses the best that mankind has, reason, to get at the answers
of challenging questions (28).
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