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By Meg Harris Williams

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The first two he came to regard as traitors in the sense of acting as spies for the king, creatures of the establishment; Laertes he has antagonized owing to his effect HAMLET AS A DREAM-PLAY 19 on both Polonius and Ophelia (even if we see their “deaths” metaphorically). Fortinbras (“strong arm”) remains as a possible route for the adolescent to follow, even though up to this point Hamlet has found him absurd and incomprehensible. The “lawless resolutes” that he “shark’d up” at the beginning of the play comprise a new style of mercenary army, perhaps like Brechtian city-gangsters, slick and affluent.

For what? for Hamlet’s return – for the resumption of our work, which I now saw could never be? The waste, the futility! But why should the history of 34 HAMLET IN ANALYSIS Hamlet and his family and friends have so deeply affected me? Feelings and associations had been stirred up during the past week which clustered around this aborted analysis in such a way that it seemed to be coming to represent the focus of my discontent with my life, even the source of my anger with my own family. Was Hamlet a personification of my youthful ambition?

He looked, I thought, tired and slightly stooping when I met him this time, while his wife seemed more beautiful than I had remembered. Their worry about Hamlet was exacerbated, they explained, by their total incomprehension. For though they were well aware of adolescent rebellions, negativism and even breakdowns, there seemed no reason for any of this in Hamlet’s case. It was as though he had become an alien being. His hostility seemed particularly directed against his father, to whom as a young child he had been very attached.

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