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Shakespeare and the Idea of the Book$
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Charlotte Scott

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212101

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212101.001.0001

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‘Minding true things by what their mockeries be’: Forgetting and Remembering in Hamlet

‘Minding true things by what their mockeries be’: Forgetting and Remembering in Hamlet

Chapter:
(p.130) 5 ‘Minding true things by what their mockeries be’: Forgetting and Remembering in Hamlet
Source:
Shakespeare and the Idea of the Book
Author(s):

Charlotte Scott (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212101.003.0005

Of all the characters in William Shakespeare’s plays, Hamlet stands alone as the icon of the scholar self, the epitome of the humanist dialectic between knowledge and self-knowledge, individual aspiration and social harmony. In modern terms, ‘to be or not to be’ has entered the language as the aphorism of the existential intellectual, and Hamlet persists as the bookish icon of the restless mind. Yet, in terms of Shakespeare’s play, this iconic Hamlet is a retroactive construction because, early on in the play, he denounces all that humanism prized — the book, the academy, and the past. As the book enables Hamlet to move between the worlds of public drama and private tragedy, it becomes his most powerful weapon against the conscience and consciousness of his being.

Keywords:   William Shakespeare, book, metaphors, drama, plays, tragedy, Hamlet, memory

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