Shakespeare: Hamlet

Paul A. Cantor, Shakespeare: Hamlet (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004)

Summary from the Publisher:

Paul Cantor presents a clearly structured introduction to Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy. After examining Hamlet’s status as tragic hero and central enigma of delayed revenge in light of the play’s Renaissance context, Cantor discusses its dramatic and poetic techniques. He considers the uniquely varied reception of the play on the stage and in literature from the seventeenth century to the present day.

Table of Contents:


Part I. Hamlet and the Renaissance

1. The Renaissance context
2. Heroism in the Renaissance epic tradition
3. Tragedy and Renaissance man
4. The place of Hamlet in Shakespeare’s career

Part II. The Tragedy of Hamlet

5. The problem of Hamlet
6. Hamlet and the revenge play tradition
7. Hamlet and classical heroism
8. Hamlet and Christianity
9. Hamlet as tragic hero
10. The end of Hamlet

Part III. Dramatic and Poetic Technique
11. The drama of Hamlet
12. The language of Hamlet

Part IV. The Heritage of Hamlet

13. Hamlet in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
14. Hamlet in the nineteenth century
15. The comic Hamlet
16. Hamlet in the twentieth century

Works cited

Google Books
Cambridge University Press (excerpt)