William Shakespeare | Literature Criticism Critical Essay by Karl S. Guthke

This literature criticism consists of approximately 15 pages of analysis & critique of William Shakespeare.
This section contains 4,467 words
(approx. 15 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Karl S. Guthke

Critical Essay by Karl S. Guthke

SOURCE: “Last Words in Shakespeare's Plays: The Challenge to the Ars Moriendi Tradition,” in Shakespeare Jahrbuch, Verlag Ferdinand Kamp Bochum, 1992, pp. 80-90.

In the following essay, Guthke examines the death scenes of several principal Shakespearean characters, and maintains that Shakespeare repeatedly questions the traditional idea that a dying individual's last words reveal whether that person will be damned or saved. The critic argues that Shakespeare contests this belief by assigning these characters death speeches that focus on this world rather than the hereafter—or giving them no last words at all.

Why does Hamlet decide against killing Claudius when the opportunity presents itself? The opportunity, Hamlet realizes on reflection, is no opportunity, since Claudius is praying; if he were to be stabbed in the back at this moment of “the purging of...

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This section contains 4,467 words
(approx. 15 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Karl S. Guthke