Fit Hamlet, fat Hamlet and the problems of aristocratic labour

RUTTER, Tom (2005). Fit Hamlet, fat Hamlet and the problems of aristocratic labour. Cahiers elisabethains, 68, 27-32.

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Abstract

Reviewers’ comments upon the physique of Simon Russell Beale in the role of Hamlet for the National Theatre in 2000 suggest that theatrical tradition requires a thin Prince; however, the play itself offers contradictory indications in this respect. In fact, two Hamlets can be discerned in Hamlet: one a melancholic who laments his idleness in failing to carry out a revenge that he imagines in terms of labour, the other a quick wit who feigns idle madness in order to accomplish his plans. As well as having a practical purpose, however, this feigned idleness links Hamlet to Elizabethan gentlemen who conspicuously advertised their freedom from work as an indicator of high social status. Furthermore, Hamlet’s contradictory attitudes to the socially loaded concept of work may reflect the problematic commercial position of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men circa 1600.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: RUTTER, Tom (2005). Fit Hamlet, fat Hamlet and the problems of aristocratic labour. <I>Cahiers Élisabéthains</>, <B>68</B>, 27-32
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Humanities Research Centre
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2009
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2010 14:13
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/571

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