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REVIEW
Goldman, Michael. "Hamlet and Our Problems."
Shakespeare and the Energies of Drama.Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1972. 74-93.


Thesis: In the course of discussing how Hamlet appeals to the audience's "desire for action that makes sense, especially for action that seems complete and resolved" (76), Goldman compares the characters of Brutus and Hamlet, writing,
Prince Hamlet strikes us as an intellectual for much the same reasons Brutus does; we see them deliberating certain problems of action and attempting to formulate them in abstract terms. But Brutus's problem is that he would like to separate significance from the agents that produce significance. Though he cannot kill Caesar's spirit without killing Caesar, he tries to limit the significance of his act to the spiritual, to treat the "genius" as if it were independent of its "mortal instruments." Hamlet's problem, on the other hand, is to attach significance to action, to overcome his initial sense that all the uses of the world are flat and unprofitable, to fully unite action and reason, to find a revenge which is both internally and externally satisfying, an action that like all good acting holds the mirror up to nature.  (91-92)
Bottom Line: Not about Julius Caesar.


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   Author: Philip Weller
   Last Modified: 20 July 2005
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