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‘Yet have I in me something dangerous’: On the Interplay of Medicine and Maleficence in Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’
CMRS Roundtable / Medical Humanities
From poisoning to epilepsy, demonic possession to venereal disease, Shakespeare’s Hamlet touches on a wide range of bodily maladies, played out in the person of the Danish prince and echoed in the voices of those around him, including the ghost, the gravedigger, and Ophelia. Building on the fascination with demonology most often identified in King Lear, CMRS Associate Dr. Sara Frances Burdorff (English, UCLA) explores some of the ways in which Hamlet, too, is a work profoundly influenced by fears of demonic and other malign influences on the body. Of particular interest is the pervasive indistinguishability of natural and supernatural malady in the early modern period, and its reflection in the ambivalences of gender, personhood, and agency that plague the Danish state.
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