The Play’s the Thing: Hamlet Lecture Two


After the ghost of his father commands him to seek revenge, Hamlet is not only sorrowful but also occasionally crazy. When a traveling troupe of players comes to town, Hamlet makes use of them—staging a play within a play—in order to test Claudius. In fact, what this test and a subsequent trial reveal is the character of the prince.


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Stephen Smith is the Temple Family Professor in English Literature at Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Dallas.