Susan Sontag Hamlet

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“Real art has the capacity to make us nervous.” This quote by writer Susan Sontag has opened many opportunities for discussion on the true discussion of dramatic purpose. (“Against Interpretation”) Why have countless playwrights chosen the series of events, word choice, and imagery that provokes feelings of fear and nervousness in the reader for centuries? It is said that the purpose of drama is “to depict a conflict that will hold the attention of the audience and provoke a progressively strong emotional response within a relatively short period of time.” (Vitzthum) This method of pathos, or the emotional quality of the text (Hannah), has been used for one purpose, to help the reader relate the work to his or her own life. An interpretation of Sontag’s quote is put best by writer Phillip C. Kolin in his collection, Othello: New Critical Essays: drama “disturbs the reader’s peace of mind, frustrating their desire for closure.” (2) If the reader does not feel some type of emotional attachment, negative or positive, they will not become as involved in the work as they would if the work had a strong impact on their emotions. The Birthday Party, a 1959 play by Harold Pinter, has many examples of plot development…show more content…
The ambiguous Hamlet is both compulsive and obsessive in his vengeance of his father’s death. When he pretends to go insane, the audience cannot help but wonder if he actually is going insane, creating tension and a burning interest to see the conclusion. The death of Ophelia and almost every other character creates despair in the audience, creating a personal relationship and attachment to the work. In Hamlet, the main character and namesake of the play, Hamlet, gives directions to the actors in the metatheatre portion of Act III. This not only applies to the people he is talking to, but it applies to theatre in

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