scroll to top
Stuck on your essay?
Get ideas from this essay and see how your work stacks up
Word Count: 1,406
Hamlet grapples with his own task in its immediate context Yet that effort entrains wider frames of reference whose signification critics have striven to clarify In one such frame Hamlets agon reformulates the question What is a man 4433 which he himself raises1 As a rational animal a man is one who thinks But the play problematizes the proper exercise of thought by which man sustains this identity The role of reason in Hamlet has attracted considerable critical attention According to one school inaugurated by Harry Levin and extended by scholars such as Chris R Hassel Walter King Eve Sanders William Morse Kenneth Rothwell Lars Engle and Ronald Shafer Hamlet debunks the Renaissance praise of human reason epitomized by Pico della Mirandola2 In contrast Carole T Diffey examines the role of godlike reason in the play3 According to another school ably represented by Lily Bess Campbell John S Wilks and Jennifer Low the play elaborates the classical doctrine regarding the responsibility of reason to control passion4 According to a third school forged by Herschel Baker AD Nuttall Mark Matheson and Gordon Hartford Hamlet foregrounds Stoic doctrines concerning the function of reason in the conduct of life5 Unlike these preceding critics who have considered the play in terms of its debunking or appropriation of earlier notions of reason I shall examine how in Hamlet the concept of reason as transmitted by the AristotelianThomist synthesis is subjected to a radical critique which problematizes the meaning of man as the rational animal The investigation will involve sequential uncovering of the ways in which the function of reason is questioned and reconstituted in the play At the core of this analysis is a reinterpretation of the relation between reason and the individual exercising it According to Aristotelian-Thomist doctrine man is principally the mind of man Summa Theologica I-II 29 5 resp That is in so far as man is a rational animal reason operates synonymously in all human beings
@Kibin is a lifesaver for my essay right now!!
- Sandra Slivka, student @ UC Berkeley
Wow, this is the best essay help I've ever received!
- Camvu Pham, student @ U of M
If I'd known about @Kibin in college, I would have gotten much more sleep
- Jen Soust, alumni @ UCLA