© Considered Capricious 2009-2014. All Rights Reserved

Essays | Poetry | Literature

Renée Paule's Philosophy Books Home

Unravelling our confused mind helps to better understand some of the mysteries in these texts.

These are self-help / philosophical books with a difference. Written by Renée Paule and semi-autobiographical. Available in paperback and ebook formats. See links below.

… a desultory style

Hamlet: “In Two Minds”

                                                                Tell all the truth but let it slant-

                                                                Success in Circuit lies

                                                                Too bright for our infirm Delight

                                                                The Truth’s superb surprise  

                                                                                                                                    Emily Dickinson  

Hamlet’s procrastination persists because it ought not to persist. The more impatient he is to do his duty, the more inaction triumphs.  His zeal to act only yields a craving for delay. Action, for Hamlet, is standing upon the edge of the precipice: stagnation prevails. He cannot bring himself to take steps to prevent disaster. Perhaps tomorrow he’ll seek his revenge. But as tomorrow arrives, the unfathomable craving for delay gathers strength and grows ever more compelling. The conflict within him is of the ‘definite with the indefinite-or the substance with the shadow’.1  Indecision between two opposing approaches preoccupies Hamlet: to act or not to act. Reason ought to prevail but Hamlet’s hesitation and doubt draws him, inexorably down, like a moth to a flame. His precarious positioning: the intermediate state, of being neither one nor the other lies at the boundary between order and chaos. Poised on the brink, the tipping point, so to speak, is a void where Hamlet’s absence of action crushes all momentum. Accordingly, Hamlet’s delay opens up a vacuum, drawing attention away from substance and concrete meaning towards shadow that resists straightforward interpretation.

Hamlet’s delay has its roots in anxiety and it is the dominating motif of doubling and dividing depicted in characters, situations, plot and linguistic and mechanical structures that are undoubtedly a metaphor for anxiety. This recurring motif of duality expresses Hamlet’s tormented inner life; his continual doubts and wavering are depicted in binary oppositional terms. But although anxiety generates fear, doubt and indecisiveness, at the same time, alertness and observation enhances, namely, the body prepares for ‘flight or fight’. Accordingly, duality is paradoxical: it disrupts and yet intensifies meaning. Symmetrical in design, duality firstly draws attention to the instability of language conveyed by Hamlet’s plurality. And secondly, Shakespeare uses duality throughout as a way of forging new, more powerful associations through the juxtaposition of two oppositional terms. The American poet Emily Dickinson succinctly expressed this second approach of ‘heightened’ language in her poem: ‘Tell all the truth but tell it slant-/Success in Circuit lies’2.  Similarly, Shakespeare’s motif of duality, particularly in the use of hendiadys subverts or ‘slants’ conventional meaning to dislocate normal patterns of thinking. By twinning the familiar with the unfamiliar a new, more powerful meaning erupts. But frustratingly, no sooner is the ‘true’ meaning seized upon than it flees from us, ultimately resulting in a denial of closure.

For the purpose of this essay I will begin by discussing the uncanny aspect of Hamlet’s Ghost and how it relates to the idea of doubling, instability of identity and fear of death itself.  Furthermore, I want to examine the significance of Purgatory as the ‘waiting room’ for Heaven and its relationship to the troubling religious, political and social divide during the Renaissance period. Secondly, I will examine how Shakespeare’s language, which is enormously rich in coordinated devices such as hendiadys, oxymoron and metaphors, tends to walk a tightrope between comprehension and incomprehension. Moreover, there are numerous scenes that are full of doublings such as the closet scene and The Mousetrap. By examining the closet scene I will demonstrate how Shakespeare highlights the ambiguities between the physical and the idealised world or indeed subjective and objective reality. Lastly, I will suggest that Shakespeare used conceptual doubling when casting actors as a way to illuminate themes of doubt, and indecision. Interestingly, all characters except for Horatio can be doubled. I will argue that Shakespeare has set him apart as an ‘ever fixed mark’ to reinforce the centrality of his position.3  In other words, Horatio is the continuous stabilising influence that disrupts and contradicts Hamlet’s plurality.

Hamlet is steeped in the uncanny. This troubling feeling is bound up with repetition and the familiar twinned with the unfamiliar. It is more than just eeriness, but a feeling of déjà vu, a sense of the double that troublingly undermines identity and questions ideas about destiny and fate. The effect was elaborated by Sigmund Freud in his essay ‘The “Uncanny”’ (1919).4  Freud reasoned that the double and its association with the uncanny have to do with an uneasiness associated with reproduction and identity. It is this kind of ghostly disturbance that is most profound in Hamlet’s encounter with his dead father. Is the Ghost real, definite and immutable or is he a human construct?5 To re-phrase; if someone can be replicated then I too can live forever and yet, at the same time, that double isn’t really me, so I must be dead. This kind of paradoxical, alienating effect has its roots in fear of annihilation. The speculation about the Ghost is bound up in a dread of ‘destruction of the ego, an “energetic denial of the power of death”.6  The double therefore becomes a potent omen, the forerunner of death.

In the opening scene of Hamlet Shakespeare creates an atmosphere of scepticism and foreboding intimated by Barnardo: ‘Who’s there?’ (I.i.1) Apprehension is intensified by Francisco’s remark: ‘Stand and unfold yourself’ (I.i.2). The anxious sentinels are in a state of anticipation waiting for the Ghost to reappear. Indeed, Shakespeare presents the Ghost of King Hamlet as a solid authoritative figure of heroic valour in full military armour. In a sense, the Ghost is history: he is the keeper of secrets, knowledge and historical truth.  Horatio is the embodiment of rationality and when told about the Ghost relies: ‘Tush, tush `twill not appear’ (I.i.29). When the Ghost finally appears it seems, to those present, as familiar and yet strangely unfamiliar: Barnardo asks, ‘Is the same figure like the King that’s dead’ (I.i.40) Horatio’s reply: ‘Most like. It harrows me with fear and wonder’, (I.i.44). And later Marcellus asks: ‘Is he not like the King?’ (I.i.57) to which Horatio remarks: ‘As thou art to myself’, (I.i.58). The word ‘like’ used frequently here and Horatio’s recognition based on ‘the very armour’ he wore is remarkable because it is based on a distant memory of perhaps thirty years from a past battle when he ‘so frowned’ in a particular manner. And later, when Horatio speaks to Hamlet about the Ghost; the appearance, including its facial expression, complexion, countenance, beard colour and armour is a hybrid of the recent memory and a past memory fused, thus, more a twisted misrepresentation than of objective reality. Horatio compares the Ghost to a memory of a real life event using his hands identicalness to convince Hamlet of the sighting: ‘These hands are not more alike’ (I.ii.211). In the eyes of Hamlet, Horatio’s encounter is established and verified. After all, there are also other witnesses to the event. But Shakespeare introduces an element of doubt because later on, the very nature of the Ghost is ‘questionable’ as he appears to Hamlet, but not to his mother. Hamlet’s identity is diminished because it is Hamlet’s father who is driving Hamlet’s behaviour. Effectively, Hamlet becomes his father, and in doing so he becomes the instrument of historical truth. Indeed, history has a habit of haunting the present and its effect has an impact now. Surely, the Ghost conveys a mire of uncertainty because history and identity are woven together; they are intrinsically bound. In short, Hamlet cannot be Hamlet. The unstoppable forces of history, in the form of the Ghost, meddle with Hamlet’s innate will to self-determine, and in doing so contributes to the play’s sense of perpetuity.

The ideological conditions of the Renaissance period cannot help but seep into Hamlet. And it is the intermediate state of Purgatory, the place between Heaven and Hell that exaggerates the late sixteenth and seventeenth century societal anxiety, not only of religion, but fear over foreign invasion, population explosion, conscription, plague, emerging capitalism, succession to the throne and a host of other social and cultural influences. Purgatory, a motif of duality, is the tightrope between damnation and salvation. In the fierce social and economic conditions of the time perhaps it was a question of survive or be damned. When Shakespeare wrote Hamlet sometime around 1596-1601 it was the dawn of a new century and the political and social environment was a powder keg of activity generating stress for the common population.  For instance, in 1588 there was the threat of the Spanish Armada, plots against Queen Elizabeth and decades of anti-Catholic propaganda which fuelled tremendous anxiety. Also, the ruling classes exercised extreme censorship, spying and a crackdown on seditious writings. There is documented evidence from 1599 that record trials of ordinary people who dared to criticise the government; one such person, Joan Bottinge of Chidingstone was reported by another women as saying that things wouldn’t improve until, ‘the rich men’s throats were cut and then poor men should be rich’.7  The woman was found guilty and sentenced to hang. Stuart M. Kurland concurs with this position in: ‘Hamlet and the Scottish Succession’ stating that the play reflects the ‘late-Elizabeth anxiety over succession, which is accompanied by fear of a foreign intervention’.8 Furthermore, Stephen Greenblatt argues that there is no mention of the ghost in the late twelfth century’s version of Hamlet or the retelling by Francois de Belleforest in the sixteenth century. It is the earlier Elizabethan Ur-Hamlet around 1589 that introduces: ‘a pale ghost’.9  Surely, the Ghost’s introduction and the fact that it is doomed to suffer ‘for a certain term’ in Purgatory is significant when taking into account that Purgatory did not officially exist at this time:

GHOST :             I am thy Father’s spirit,

                            Doomed for a certain term to walk the night

                            And for the day confined to fast in fires

                            Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature

                            Are burnt and purged away                                       


Shakespeare’s obsession with the ‘middle state of souls’ and the suffering portrayed by the Ghost is an expression of surging anxiety and doubt during this volatile period. The words ‘burnt and purge’ are important because both words articulate a flushing out of sins in order to transform from one state to another. Elizabethan society; being a police state, was rather like ‘living on a knife edge’, one slip up, and the gallows loomed. Intense scrutiny and interrogation put a tremendous strain on all sections of society and the desire to escape from the claws of the ruling classes is depicted in Purgatory.

Throughout Shakespeare’s career a compulsion towards duplication is well recognised. For instance, Twelfth Night explores the theme of twins. In The Comedy of Errors cross dressing is portrayed. Again, in The Winter’s Tale and Antony and Cleopatra division and duplication are common motifs. Shakespeare’s pre-occupation with binary structures, the mind/body relationship, is of course a major theme in Hamlet too. Indeed, Shakespeare uses co-ordinated structures such as hendiadys more than three hundred times in all his plays and most of them are in Hamlet. There are sixty-six examples of hendiadys in Hamlet, more than twice as many than in any other play.10  Why does Shakespeare use this remarkable linguistic feature to such an extent in Hamlet? To answer this, I believe a closer look at this particular structure may offer illumination. The device appears to be a fusion of one through to two. George T. Wright puts forward the view that these parallel structures are dependent on each other and yet the ‘perception may even be a triple, one-of each idea in turn and then of their combination of fusion’.11 It is evident that hendiadys place two things together that are, at times, off kilter, or slant, as Emily Dickinson’s poem declares. These structures are chaotic; the more one tries to analyse, the more they dislocate and muddle interpretation. But yet, the colliding of two ideas appears to be an alchemic process. Incompatible elements fuse to form a third meaning. Hence, Shakespeare uses the literal and the figurative aspect of words as a ‘heightening’ strategy.12  And yet, meaning is suspect; it is as though the process of combining two words continues processing and shifting register creating new ideas. To be sure, hendiadys are yet another portrayal of anxiety. The reason that they are so prolific at this particular time is a reflection of the pervasive fear that coursed through all section of Elizabethan society. New historicism calls attention to the way in which ideology interacts with literature. Duality, in the form of hendiadys, is therefore ‘situated’ within the institutions and social practices of the period and our inability to establish concrete meaning; their incompleteness, so to speak, is dramatised in Hamlet.

I want to now examine a few examples of hendiadys. Firstly, in Act One Scene Three when Laertes offers advice to Ophelia about Hamlet, the scene exposes patriarchal anxiety of losing authority. Laertes brotherly concern is, on the surface, trying to warn and protect Ophelia: ‘Perhaps he loves you now, And now no soil and cautel doth besmirch’ (I.iii.15). In this instance, soil (impurity) and cautel (craft, deceit) have little in common.  Yet combined, Shakespeare creates a fusion; the literal meaning of soil is used metaphorically to stir the idea; that of, tarnished goods will damage the family name. Laertes is more concerned about family honour as he reveals his true feeling: ‘Or lose your heart or your chaste treasure open’ (I.iii.30). Interestingly, Shakespeare does not give Ophelia any lines with true hendiadys according to George T. Wright. Surely, this kind of ‘absence’ is a reflection of masculine fear of losing ‘possession’ of women during the Renaissance period. Male dominated society intrinsically contains binary oppositional structures that usually place women in the weaker, derogatory pairing, for example, beauty/brains. In this instance, Shakespeare places similar disparaging feminine pairings spoken by a man and directed towards a woman to reflect Ophelia’s compliance and obedience to her brother and father. Interestingly, Ophelia’s ‘lack’ of hendiadys could also be associated with the fact that ‘Hamlet associates verbosity with femininity’.13  Ophelia’s language is wordy and diffuse but lacking in the ‘higher’ complexities of hendiadys imparted to men. Her subordination is ingrained to such an extent that sophisticated linguistic structures are denied her.

Another example of the ‘heightening’ effect of hendiadys is when the Ghost reveals the nature of his death to Hamlet. The corrupting power of the court is evoked by the sensuous quality of the poison, ‘courses through the natural gates and alleys of the body` (I.v.66-67). The example of hendiadys: ‘The thin and wholesome blood’ is a collision of two words with no real connection to each other (I.v.70). Once again the separations of two ideas are in juxtaposition to ‘interweave their meaning’.14 The word ‘thin’ metaphorically indicates emaciation and dying, and ‘wholesome’ suggests nourishing, healthy and strong. Shakespeare combines the words to make a third meaning. The idea is that of a wholesome King being slain, but Claudius, the perpetrator manages to escape justice by making himself ‘thin’ or invisible in the eyes of the Court. And at the same time ‘thin’ is now the present King’s state; he is no longer an effective force in the material world.

This doubling of oppositional terms is also evident in one of the most saturated examples: when Hamlet first addresses the Ghost.


Angels and Ministers of grace defend us!

Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn’d

Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,

Be thy intents wicked or charitable,

Thou com’st in such a questionable shape



Here Shakespeare uses a succession of doubling and dividing devices which has a paradoxical effect. Although the pace and rhythm is fast, yet within the syntax, the pairing of words, for example: ‘spirit of health of goblin damn’d’ create disjunction, stumble and stutter. Hamlet is riddled with doubt as he vacillates between two oppositional terms. So, on the one hand, indecision and delay lie at the core, but this wavering is at odds with the galloping pace and delivery of the verse. The last line: ‘Thou com’st in such a questionable shape’ effectively ends rhythm and in doing so the overall meaning of uncertainty takes precedence.

Signifier and signified throughout Hamlet are continually shifted and dislocated, opening a chasm where words and deeds rarely correlate. In a moment of prayer and contemplation Claudius remarks: ‘My words fly up, my thoughts below (III.iv.97). Inner secrets; the desire to hold something back, are at odds with the thrust of the play and disrupt the idea of closure; hence, revelation never happens. The enigma of Claudius’s secret is itself paradoxical because a true secret is not hidden; it is not meant to be discovered.15 The secret held and revealed by the Ghost: ‘To tell the secrets of my prison-house’ (I.v.14) is surely only partially disguised; in other words, it wants to be revealed.  Certainly the dualistic nature of secrets in literature is that they are both discoverable and undiscoverable at the same time. In addition, Frank Kermode, author of Shakespeare’s Language points out that ‘the doubling in Hamlet can obviously be a means of slowing down the action as well as the language of the play’.16  Indeed, doubling devices, at times superfluous, appear to wrestle with the human desire to contain and penetrate the text. It is also worth pointing out that the plot depends on linguistic and structural doubles as a delaying tactic to drive it forward; certainly, without delay, there is no play. In this respect, duality as a meta-theatrical device is a mechanism for movement and cessation. It is this kind of paradoxical structural device of start/stop that evokes the uncanny. The jarring of rhythm has the effect of shattering expectation and increasing a sense of unfamiliarity and disturbance.

The thematic importance of the ‘divide’ is strikingly portrayed in the closet scene when Polonius hides behind the arras in Gertrude’s private chambers. It is the arras itself that is a physical representation of duality, the switch, if you like between the observer and the observed. The tension between mother and son and the words they speak ought to be private, yet Polonius’s eavesdropping gives further emphasis to the duel of words about to take place. This begs the question who is framing who? For example, Gertrude and Polonius are framing Hamlet to probe his inner thoughts. In this instance, Hamlet is the subject.

POLONIUS:       Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear

                                                And that your grace hath screen and stood between

                                                Much hear and him


Yet, at the same time Hamlet is trying to manipulate the Queen and in desperate need of a confession. Here Hamlet is the observer and the Queen is the observed. This kind of parallelism further reflects the fact that perception is neither simply subjective nor objective.

The killing of Polonius, at this point, is proof that Hamlet ceases to delay; he takes decisive action as he believes it is Claudius behind the curtain. The critical focus of the play’s enigma: why does Hamlet delay, is therefore not really the point at issue because Shakespeare demonstrates that, when pushed, Hamlet can act. Surely, Shakespeare’s delaying tactics are more to do with drawing the play out, or exaggerating ‘delay’ as a theme devoid of Hamlet. In fact, ‘delay` as part of the play’s overall meaning and structure points to the play’s lack of resolution rather than Hamlet’s inner world. Shakespeare, like a magician, diverts us towards Hamlet’s delay, but, in fact it is delay itself, stemming from anxiety and expressed in the motif of duality throughout that contributes to a sense of continuity. This feeling of perpetual anxiety is expressed in the taut verbal exchange that follows between mother and son when both accuse each other of disloyalty.

                       QUEEN:           Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

                    HAMLET:           Mother, you have my father much offended


Almost identical lines, but clearly both the Queen and Hamlet’s perception is distorted. When Polonius is killed the Queen cries out, ‘O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!’ (III.iv.25) Hamlet repeats ‘rash’ to apportion blame on Polonius: ‘Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell’ in an attempt to negate his own reckless deed onto another (III.iv.29). Once again, the mirroring within the structure is significant. Ferdinand de Saussure’s work on structuralism looks at the pattern underlying the text as a way of illuminating the work. In this respect, the motif of duality reveals a lurking reluctance to be contained. Subversion, corruption and the slipperiness and deferment expressed in the binary systems; of not quite mirroring each other, but nearly, is surely an illustration of the superficial and insubstantial nature of the play itself.

It is only when one notices the anomalies in Hamlet that meaning is illuminated. Horatio is such an anomaly. For instance, he appears to be friendly with the sentinels and is also a scholar. He is Hamlet’s confidant and yet is unacquainted with Laertes. His age is also uncertain as he appears to remember King Hamlet in battle and at the same time knew Hamlet at university. Much more importantly, he is the least likely to be doubled. Generally speaking, it was usual for actors to double for economic reasons as the company only had a limited number. The practice of ‘conceptual’ doubling in Hamlet is appraised by Ralph Berry: ‘doubling as a way that the director brings a hidden relationship to light… To double parts with conceptual intent is to color- code the stations on the subway map’.17  Indeed, the play’s meaning is dependant on how and who each character is doubled with. The Ghost and the King acting as a double is an example of conceptual doubling as Hamlet himself regularly compares the two.

Horatio’s singleness is striking. Why did Shakespeare make a point of not doubling Horatio’s part? Surely it is not an accident, but a deliberate example of conceptual casting. In this case, Shakespeare wanted to emphasise Horatio’s omnipotence. Shakespeare positions Horatio at the point of symmetry; the singularity, or pivot, if you like, who isn’t reflected in any other character. It is Horatio who establishes the Ghost’s reality. Interestingly, the apparition is witnessed by Horatio on the third night: ‘And I with them the third night kept watch’ (I.ii.207). The stage directions referring to ‘cock crows’ also alludes to biblical parallels of Jesus’ betrayal by Peter: ‘Before the cock crows you will deny me three times’ and the resurrection of Christ on the third day (Matthew 26.34). Horatio is portrayed as the ‘knowing one’ as Hamlet declares: ‘Give me that man/ that is not passion’s slave and I will wear him/in my heart’s core’ (III.ii.67-68). Hamlet goes on to entrust Horatio with the important task of observation and deduction during The Mousetrap scene. The King’s guilt will ‘unkennel’ when encountering the ghost. Horatio’s scepticism and response to Hamlet afterwards: ‘Half a share’ as apposed to Hamlet ‘A whole one, I’ is a good example of Horatio’s scientific and sceptical approach as apposed to Hamlet’s ‘blended’ truth (III.ii.237-238). Horatio is portrayed as an intellectual monist where ‘seeming and being’ require a more rational, scientific approach. Hamlet, on the other hand, oscillates between a dualistic theory of mind, where mind and matter are separate and the monist approach where mind and matter are one and the same. This internal conflict disturbs Hamlet’s notion of ‘selfhood’. This dilemma is also appraised by William W. Demastes’s reasoning that Hamlet anticipates and at the same time assaults Cartesian Dualism: ‘seeming and being (the physical and its ideal/true correlative) could never be trusted to coincide’.18  Undoubtedly, the opposing philosophical approaches between Hamlet and Horatio reflect the emerging secular and rational society of the Renaissance period where the doctrines of established theologies were being replaced by scientific discoveries.

In George T Wright’s influential essay ‘Hendiadys and Hamlet’ he reasons that the play’s meaning and obsession with duality is not much at ‘at variance with traditional ones’; the feature of doubling and dividing express what critics already know. In saying this, I think Wright moderates the significance of these unusual structures as not being so profound; he almost diminishes their importance. But surely, the profusion of hendiadys in Hamlet, at this particular time, is significance. After all, the ‘secret’ may be staring us in the face like The Purloined Letter of Edgar Allan Poe’s story.19  The underlying pattern of duality in structure and textual detail is fundamentally an expression of anxiety. The anxiety expressed in the motif of duality certainly has some of its roots in the unstable period when Shakespeare wrote the play. In a time of persecution, a seismic shift in ideology created a collective consciousness of anxiety in the populace. But also, one has to look at Shakespeare himself. After the death of Shakespeare’s son Hamnet in 1596 and his father, John in 1601 one cannot help thinking that intense anguish somehow shaped Shakespeare’s writing and perhaps depression and anxiety set in. Shakespeare’s sonnets composed during the 1590s may offer a glimpse into his frame of mind.

Even so my sun one early morn did shine

With all-triumphant splendour on my brow;

But, out, alack! He was but one hour mine;

The region cloud hath masked him from me now.              

Sonnet 33

But this is merely supposition. Hamlet is portrayed as an introspective and sensitive man; we delve into his mind in the hope of knowing ourselves. Shakespeare’s feelings, on the other hand, remain hidden.


By  Gabriel Summer - 2009


[1] Edgar Allan Poe, ‘The Imp of the Perverse’, The Portable Edgar Allan Poe (London: Penguin Books 2006), p.203.

[2] Emily Dickinson, ‘1129 Tell all the Truth but let it slant’, in The Norton Anthology of Poetry (London: W.W. Norton &Company), 1996.

[3] Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor, eds, The Arden Shakespeare, Hamlet, (London: Arden Shakespeare 2006), p.565.

[4] Sigmund Freud, ‘The “Uncanny”, in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, (London: WW Norton & Company, 2001), pp.929-952.

[5] Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle, Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory, (London: Pearson Education Limited, 1999), p.133.

[6] Otto Rank cited by Sigmund Freud, `The “Uncanny”`in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (London: W.W. Norton, 2001), p.941.

[7] James Shapiro, 1599 A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (London: Faber and Faber, 2005), p.139.

[8] Stuart M. Kurland, cited in Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor, William Shakespeare Hamlet (Plymouth: Northcote House Publishers, 1996), p.29.

[9] Stephen Greenblatt, Hamlet in Purgatory (Oxford: Princeton University Press,2002), p.205.

[10] George T. Wright, ‘Hendiadys and Hamlet’ Publication of the Modern Language Association, 96 (1981), p. 168-93.

[11] Wright, citing Adelelaine Hahn, ‘Hendiadys: Is there such a thing?’ Classical Weekly, 1922, pp. 193-97.

[12] Ann Thompson, ‘Heightened Language’ Reading Shakespeare’s Dramatic Language  (London, Arden, 2007), p.8.

[13] Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor,  William Shakespeare Hamlet (Plymouth: Northcote House Publishers, 1996), p.34.

[14] Wright, p.172.

[15] J. Hillis Miller, ‘There’s something about a secret’ cited in Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle in Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory, (London: Pearson Education Limited, 1999), p.222.

[16] Frank Kermode,  Shakespeare’s Language (London, Penguin, 2000), p.102.

[17] Ralph Berry, `Hamlet’s Doubles` Shakespeare Quarterly Vol 37 No. 2(1986) pp204-212.

[18] William W. Demastes, ‘Hamlet in His World, Shakespeare Anticipates/Assaults Cartesian Dualism’ Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, (2005),Vol 20, pp27-42.

[19] Edgar Allan Poe. ‘The Purloined Letter’ in The Portable Edgar Allan Poe, (London: Penguin Books 2006),p.327.


Adamson, S, L, Hunter, M, Magnusson, A,Thompson, K,Wales, (eds), Reading Shakespeare’s Dramatic Language: A Guide. The Arden Shakespeare (London: Arden, 2007)

Berry, R, `Hamlet’s Doubles` Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol 37 No. 2 (1986) pp. 204-212

Brown, Russell, John, The Shakespeare Handbooks, Hamlet (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)

Carson, Christie and Farah Karim-Cooper, (eds), Shakespeare’s Globe: A Theatrical Experiment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Carson, Neil, A Companion to Henslowe’s Diary, 2nd Edition (Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press, 2002)

Demastes, William, `Hamlet in His World, Shakespeare Anticipates/Assaults Cartesian Dualism` Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism; 2005Vol 20 Numb 1; pp. 27-42.

Dollimore, Jonathon and Alan Sinfield, (eds), Political Shakespeare: Essays in Cultural Materalism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000)

Dillon, Janette, The Cambridge Introduction to Early English Theatre (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006)

Everett, Barbara, Young Hamlet, Essays on Shakespeare’s Tragedies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989)

Freud, Sigmund, `The “Uncanny”The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (London: W.W. Norton and Company, 2001), pp. 929-952

Greenblatt, Stephen, Hamlet in Purgatory (Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2002)

Gurr, Andrew, Playgoing in Shakespeare’s London, 3rd Edition (Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press, 1994)

Howard, Jean E.,  The Stage and the Social Struggle in Early Modern England (London: Routledge, 1994)


Kennedy, J. Gerald,  The Portable Edgar Allan Poe (London: Penguin Group, 2006)

Kermode, Frank, Shakespeare’s Language (London: Penguin Books, 2000)

Russell Brown, John, The Shakespeare Handbooks-Hamlet (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)

Shapiro, James, 1599 A year in the life of William Shakespeare (London: Faber and Faber, 2005)

Stern, Tiffany, Shakespeare from Stage to Page, Accents on Shakespeare (London: Routledge, 2004)

Thompson, Ann and Neil Taylor, Writers and their Works, William Shakespeare Hamlet Plymouth (Northcote House Publishers Ltd, 1996)

Thompson, Ann and Neil Taylor, (eds), Hamlet: The Text of 1603 and 1623 (Arden 3rd Series, 2006)

Thompson, Ann and Neil Taylor, (eds) Hamlet (Arden 3rd Series, 2006)

White, Martin, Renaissance Drama in Action (London: Routledge, 1998)

Whitney, Charles, Early Responses to Renaissance Drama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006)

Wright, George, `Hendiadys and Hamlet` Publication of the Modern Language Association, 96 (1981)