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Chapter 1 - Shakespeare’s ghosts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 December 2015

Paul Franssen
Affiliation:
Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
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Summary

Shakespeare's earliest appearances as a character are as a ghost, appearing in stage prologues and epilogues to approve of productions of his plays. At first the ghost, identified with Hamlet Sr, is a regal figure, invested with authority over matters of textual fidelity, taste, morality and politics, but gradually he comes to be used for comic purposes as well, to be mocked himself. Apart from Britain, the ghost also starts to appear on the Continent in the course of the eighteenth century. By the twentieth century, most Shakespearean ghosts have lost all their authority, and are raised only to be made fun of, at least in Britain. On the European Continent and in the USA, by contrast, the ghost retains his authority, though now he is no longer a regal ghost, but more often that of a stereotypical English gentleman.
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Chapter
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Shakespeare's Literary Lives
The Author as Character in Fiction and Film
, pp. 11 - 34
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2016

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  • Shakespeare’s ghosts
  • Paul Franssen, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Book: Shakespeare's Literary Lives
  • Online publication: 18 December 2015
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316410851.002
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  • Shakespeare’s ghosts
  • Paul Franssen, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Book: Shakespeare's Literary Lives
  • Online publication: 18 December 2015
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316410851.002
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Shakespeare’s ghosts
  • Paul Franssen, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Book: Shakespeare's Literary Lives
  • Online publication: 18 December 2015
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316410851.002
Available formats
×