"What a piece of work is man": Theatrical Anthropology in Hamlet

Jacobsen, Ken (2012) "What a piece of work is man": Theatrical Anthropology in Hamlet. Animus, 15. pp. 47-86. ISSN 1209-0689

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This essay argues that Hamlet contains three distinct strands in its exploration of the theme of human nature: Piconian optimism, coalescing around the figure of homo rationalis; a skeptical Montaignean critique of homo rationalis; and homo histrio– man the actor -- who mediates between the two. Hamlet demonstrates the various ways that theatricality, a human invention, has entered into the human world and become a powerful conditioning force within it. The play’s treatment of a theatricalized human condition addresses key issues around which the critique of traditional anthropology coheres: rationality, epistemology, temporality, language, identity, and agency.

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Item Type: Article
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/284
Item ID: 284
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Arts and Social Science > English
Date: February 2012
Date Type: Publication

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