"A serious provocation to both the biscuit-box Shakespeare industry and, more widely, to contemporary literary culture." - Independent
Arguably, no literary work is more familiar to us than Shakespeare's most famous tragedy. Everyone can quote at least six words from the play; often people know many more.
In this riveting and thought-provoking re-examination, philosopher Simon Critchley and psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster explore Hamlet’s continued relevance for a modern world no less troubled by existential anxieties than Elizabethan London.
Reading the drama alongside writers, philosophers and psychoanalysts—Schmitt, Benjamin, Freud, Lacan, Nietzsche, Melville, and Joyce—the authors delve into the politics of the era, the play’s relationship to religion, the exigencies of desire and the incapacity to love. It is an intellectual investigation that leads to a startling conclusion: Hamlet is a play about nothing in which Ophelia emerges as the true hero.
From the illusion of theatre and the spectacle of statecraft to the psychological theatre of inhibition and emotion, what Hamlet makes manifest is the modern paradox of our lives: where we know, we cannot act.
The Hamlet Doctrine is a passionate encounter with a great work of literature that continues to speak to us across centuries.