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Reflections on Life, Death, and the Constitution$
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George Anastaplo

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125336

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125336.001.0001

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. Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Elusiveness of the Good

. Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Elusiveness of the Good

Chapter:
(p.98) (p.99) 1. Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Elusiveness of the Good
Source:
Reflections on Life, Death, and the Constitution
Author(s):

George Anastaplo

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813125336.003.0014

This chapter examines Shakespeare's Hamlet and seeks to understand the Good life. It notes that Prince Hamlet naturally preferred a private life, subordinating himself to the rule of others, and even courted Ophelia, which suggests an opening to domesticity on his part. It further seeks to explore the ultimate dependency of Good on understanding. It notes that in order to be able to conclude that the Good is elusive; one must have a reliable sense of what is truly good. It points out that whatever openness Hamlet had had toward domesticity seems to have been seriously disturbed by what happened to what may have been his model of a good marriage. It notes that his mother need not be considered to have been aware of the murder of her first husband, but her hasty remarriage can arouse suspicions that Gertrude and Claudius had had some “understanding” while King Hamlet was still alive.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, Good life, Hamlet, Ophelia, domesticity, understanding, Good, Gertrude, good marriage, Claudius

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