Was It Me Or Not Me That

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Was It Me, Or Not Me, That Is The Question Essay, Research Paper Shakespeare was a man of many accomplishments. Many were in his writings; others were in his great director and playwright skills. The play Hamlet is one of the most re-created and re-written books to date. Hamlet is still being performed in theaters around the world. Even though many people perceive Shakespeare as a literary genius, we can not give him sole credit for his plays and sonnets. With a few exceptions, Shakespeare did not invent the plots of his plays. Sometimes he used old stories (Hamlet, Pericles). Sometimes he worked from the stories of comparatively recent Italian writers, such as Boccaccio – using both well-known stories (Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing) and little known ones

(Othello). Shakespeare has been proven, by many authors, to have borrowed from the Arts, the Histories and the Sciences. (Britannica Online, http://www.eb.com:180/cgi-bin/g?DocF=macro/5005/75/12.html) "The first collection of information about sources of Elizabethan plays was published in the 17th century. Gerard Langbaines account of the English Dramatic Poets (1691) briefly indicated where Shakespeare found materials for some plays."(Britannica Online) It has been shown in this book that Shakespeare quoted his contemporary Christopher Marlowe in As You Like It. He casually refers to the Aethiopica ("Ethiopian history") of Heliodorus (which has been translated by Thomas Undertown in 1569) in Twelfth Night. Chapman’s vigorous translation of Homer’s Iliad

impressed him, though he used some of the material rather sardonically in Troilus and Cressida. He derived the ironical account of an ideal republic in The Tempest from one of Montaigne’s essays. He obviously read Samuel Harsnett’s Declaration of Egregious Popish Imposters and remembered lively passages from it when he was writing King Lear. The beginning lines of sonnet 106 indicates that he had read Edmund Spencer’s poem The Faerie Queene or comparable romantic literature. "The source of Hamlet was an earlier play, now lost, known as The Source of Hamlet or, more fashionably Ur-Hamlet." ( Satin, 385) The favorite choice for authorship of Ur-Halmet is Thomas Kyd, author of the "Spanish Tragedy". (Britannica Online) "The Spanish Tragedy" is one

of the most popular Elizabethan plays, which kept its place on the stage in spite of parody, resembles Hamlet so closely that it would appear that the source play was written by Kyd or a close imitator of his. Both plays begin with a ghost demanding vengeance; both are concerned with madness, real or assumed, of the avenger; both heroes blame themselves for their procrastination.(Muir, 112) We know very little about Ur-Hamlet, except that the Hamlet was supposed to have said, "there are things called whips in store." This looks suspiciously like a misquotation of a passage from one of the late additions to the Spanish Tragedy: And there is Nemesis and Furies, And things called whips, And they do sometimes meet with Murderers.(Muir, 118) The story given by Saxo

Grammaticus and in Belaprest’s Histories Tragiques is substantially he same. The father of Amleth(hamlet with H in the back), a governor of Jutland, to whom the king of Denmark had given his daughter Gerutha(similar to gertrude)in marriage, won fame by slaying the king of Norway in single combat. His brother Feng, murdered him, seized his office and married his wife, hence "adding incest to unnatural mother". We may even be sure that the author of the Ur-Hamlet, imitating the Spanish Tragedy, invented the Mouse Trap, the Ghost and Ophelia’s death. Many of Shakespeare’s plays also depended a lot on astronomy. The first scene in Shakespeare’s Hamlet reminds us that in Shakespeare’s plays it was usual for dramatic events to be paralleled by heavenly bodies. At