'THE DREAD OF SOMETHING AFTER DEATH' - THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SHAKESPEARE'S 'HAMLET' AND SOME MEDIEVAL DREAM VISIONS AND GHOST STORIES
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The present article tries to answer the question whether it is possible to think of William Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' as a dream vision in which the Ghost plays the role analogous to the Dreamer's supernatural guide, which is the situation we meet with in medieval dream visions, such as Chaucer's 'The book of the Duchess', or 'The Pearl'. It seems that such an interpretation is possible, even though it should be approached cautiously because medieval ghosts and dead souls, and other supernatural phenomena, not only in dream visions, usually function as a means to solve, or at least alleviate, a crisis, whereas in 'Hamlet' the Ghost comes rather to exacerbate it, and make it more tragical. To prove this point, the author makes comparisons not only between 'Hamlet' and dream visions, but also some medieval ghost stories, and the thirteenth century romance 'Havelok the Dane', which is based on a narrative pattern not very different from that of 'Hamlet'. Another problem examined in this article is that of the extent to which we can talk of the motif of reduplication and monstrous double as a leitmotif in 'Hamlet', and also in some of its analogues. Some comments and ideas by Frank Kermode and Harold Bloom are made use of in this context.
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