عنوان مقاله [English]
The political, social, and religious conflicts between the Church and the Protestants during the Renaissance and afterward gave a unique dimension to the works of a large number of European artists such as Shakespeare. A few decades later, art critics defined this style under the rubric of Baroque. The writers of this article conduct an explanatory analysis of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the light of baroque aesthetics. The authors maintain that Hamlet’s behavioral instability and inconsistency is comparable to Baroque aesthetics. His madness also reflects the chaotic society of the seventeenth century Europe which was stricken by harsh religious controversies. Hamlet represents a generation lost between Catholicism and Protestantism. On the one hand, the ghost of Hamlet’s father draws Hamlet towards his ancestral religion, which is Catholicism; on the other hand, Claudius’ progressive opinions, along with Hamlet’s education at Wittenberg, the cradle of Protestantism, push Hamlet towards iconoclastic Protestantism. Moreover, like in Baroque aesthetics in which the artist tries to challenge the perception of Truth in the mind of the audience in order to create a sense of uncertainty, from the very beginning of the play, both the characters and the audience of the play become doubtful about the state of the world and their own selves. Also, similar to a baroque hero who wants to yoke both worlds of the material and the spiritual in order to convey a spiritual message by dint of material senses, Shakespeare endows an extraterrestrial dimension on the concept of revenge. For a baroque hero the world is infinite and worldly eyes are unable to identify a greater portion of it. In view of that, Hamlet’s obsession with the other-world prevents him from killing Claudius while he is repenting his sins to God. Furthermore, from among the reasons why Hamlet is reluctant about avenging his father is Hamlet’s proximity to Claudius’ socio-political opinions. Unlike Father Hamlet, Claudius is a politically progressive ruler. On the one hand, Father Hamlet asks his son to kill his uncle in order to retrieve family honor and dignity, but, on the other hand, Hamlet’s love for the new world forbids him from doing so. Nevertheless, he still suspects the innocence of the brave new world and the distrust is also responsible for his madness. Therefore, Hamlet is trapped in a limbo and has lost his way to his desired utopia. He ought to choose either his ancestors’ way of life or the progressive thinkers’ frame of mind. However, his madness exacerbates and he decides to commit suicide. Although he wishes to die, he avoids committing suicide because Catholicism forbids suicidal acts. But when Laertes invites him to a duel, Hamlet resorts to the discourse of predetermination which is an indispensable part of Protestantism. Thus, if he dies in a duel with Laertes, his wish to die is fulfilled without committing suicide. In this fashion, he victoriously finds a third way between Catholicism and Protestantism and becomes more of a triumphant hero than a tragic protagonist.