Mike Vickers' Blog

April 30, 2019

Hamlet – In Our Time

Filed under: Hamlet, In Our Time, Literature, Shakespeare — derryvickers @ 6:03 pm

In Our Time

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the play’s context and meaning, and why it has fascinated audiences from its first performance.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Shakespeare’s best known, most quoted and longest play, written c1599 – 1602 and rewritten throughout his lifetime. It is the story of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, encouraged by his father’s ghost to take revenge on his uncle who murdered him, and is set at the court of Elsinore. In soliloquies, the Prince reveals his inner self to the audience while concealing his thoughts from all at the Danish court, who presume him insane. Shakespeare gives him lines such as ‘to be or not to be,’ ‘alas, poor Yorick,’ and ‘frailty thy name is woman’, which are known even to those who have never seen or read the play. And Hamlet has become the defining role for actors, men and women, who want to show their mastery of Shakespeare’s work.

With

  • Sir Jonathan Bate Provost of Worcester College, University of Oxford
  • Carol Rutter Professor of Shakespeare and Performance Studies at the University of Warwick
  • Sonia Massai Professor of Shakespeare Studies at King’s College London
  • Producer: Simon Tillotson.

For me Melvyn Bragg’s colleagues reveal so much more about Hamlet than just the revenge of Hamlet against his father in law and his compliant mother. Even Polonius comes to life and Othelia is a real person. As to poor Yorick ‘I knew him well’.

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