The Interrogative Mood In The World Of Hamlet By William Shakespeare
639 Words3 Pages
In his famous essay, “The World of Hamlet” Maynard Mack suggests that the play is in the “interrogative mood.” Not only does Hamlet repeatedly ask questions of himself and others (“To be or not to be…,” “Is it not monstrous…,” etc.), but much of the action involves the characters seeking to discover knowledge, to find true meaning in their lives. Ophelia does the same for Hamlet, hoping to discover whether he’s mad for revenge or madly in love. The world of Hamlet is a world in which appearances sometimes deceive and sometimes speak the truth: not being able to read the signs- as many of the characters in the story learn- can be fatal. Hamlet’s obsession with seeming (“Seems, madam? Nay, it is. I know not ‘seems,”’ Hamlet declares in his first scene in the play) explains his obsession with the arts of seeming, with acting, performance, and theatre. Hamlet, who is quite familiar with the theatre himself, draws much of his influence from actors and plays around his time.