Type / Thesis

Hamlet, Gender Space, and Theatrical Space

Wai Fong CHEANG

Page / 15-35

Abstract


This paper studies the representation of space in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. By analyzing scenes related to men’s control of space, and by discussing the meaning of their watch and spying as a point of departure, it brings into focal attention the significance of women’s space, especially Gertrude and Ophelia’s closets, and the wilderness where Ophelia drowns in a brook. The paper also reconsiders the representation of space in the play within Renaissance theatrical and political cultural contexts. These include two aspects: all-male cast on the stage scrutinized by an audience which consisted of both male and female, and the profusion of gendered space concepts prescribing spaces outside of home to men and within to women contradicted by the political reality of a female, Queen Elizabeth, on the English throne--a space that had traditionally been allotted to men, with duties that were generally conceptualized as exclusively men’s. The paper explores the ironic effect of the gendered space Shakespeare put on stage to Renaissance audience who were inured to traditional gendered space concepts.

Keywords : Hamlet, gender space, theatrical space, closet
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