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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

Chapter One - Hamlet, Cinema and the Histories of Western Europe


This chapter argues that cinematic adaptations of Hamlet illuminate the cross-fertilizing ways in which Western Europe has continued to define and represent itself. The play is enlisted firstly as a means of assurance and democratization and as a channel for unease. Secondly, the play is used to ventilate conflicting national preoccupations in contexts of industrial discontent, youth culture and mass movement protest. Thirdly, the play in cinematic form points up how the post-war project of European integration comes into conflict with new developments arising from mass immigration, demographic realignment and the pressures involved in increasingly networked European organizations.