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Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Controversies of Self$
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John Lee

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198185048

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198185048.001.0001

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My Tables, My Tables

My Tables, My Tables

(p.148) (p.149) 6 My Tables, My Tables
Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Controversies of Self

John Lee

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides clear terminology — borrowed from the disciplines of cognitive psychology and of moral philosophy — in which to describe ‘that Within’, and this terminology is capable of describing the historical placing of ‘that Within’. Through this terminology, and as part of developing it, several approaches are offered which describe clearly the self-constituted, though not self-fashioned, nature of Hamlet's interiority. Hamlet's interiority is not gestural. It is not the product of a critic's wish. Moreover, and importantly, it is at times Montaignesque, and recognizably modern. The several approaches which have been offered can be divided into two kinds. The first progressed through an examination of the Prince's relationship to his constructs and his goods, which were seen to be his sources of self. The second progressed by picturing the Prince's self as a form of story. The chapter shows how these two approaches are naturally linked, and, at the same time, gives its sense of the nature of Hamlet as a tragedy.

Keywords:   Hamlet, interiority, cognitive psychology, Prince, self, tragedy, that Within

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