What does Bloom think about Shakespeare's Hamlet?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Harold Bloom is very specific regarding his thoughts on William Shakespeare's play Hamlet. In his novel, Hamlet: Poem Unlimited, Bloom states that one must consider Hamlet a "mortal god in an immortal play."

Bloom vehemently disagrees with the Freudian concept of the Oedipus complex (historically analyzed) and believes that "something in Hamlet dies before the play opens." Bloom does not agree that Hamlet is torn by either his father's death or his mother's sexuality. Instead, the only real relationship Hamlet ever experienced was with Yorick: "Yorick the jester was Hamlet's true father and mother."

On the subject matter of the play, Bloom believes that Hamlet, himself, is the only true subject: "The play's subject … is neither mourning for the dead or revenge on the living. … All that matters is Hamlet's consciousness of his own consciousness, infinite, unlimited, and at war with itself." 

Bloom must think very highly of Shakespeare's character Hamlet, given he has declared Hamlet as "the greatest characters ever created by Shakespeare."

In front of one audience, Bloom openly stated that "Hamlet, after four centuries, is still the most experimental play ever written."

Essentially, one could easily state that Harold Bloom loves William Shakespeare's play Hamlet.


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