Personal Relationships and Social Psychology
University of Texas, Arlington, TX, USA
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
Imagine that Shakespeare had written Hamlet so that Hamlet's soliloquy was the entire play, rather than being limited to lines 57–91 of Act 3, Scene 1. You, as the playgoer, would never see the Ghost of Hamlet's father, nor his mother Gertrude, nor his uncle Claudius, nor Polonius, Ophelia, and Laertes. Hamlet would, of course, describe them to you, tell you about events in his life involving these individuals, and try to explain how—at each point in his narrative—his actions were influenced by the situations and events as he construed them at that time. But what kind of experience would you, as the playgoer, have while watching this completely “interiorized” Hamlet?
One possibility is that only the character of Hamlet himself would seem real and vivid in such a production. Perhaps it would be even easier than in the original version of the play to understand and identify with Hamlet's perspective, while the implicit perspectives of the other characters would appear more shadowy and indistinct—and therefore be experienced as less “real”. Or perhaps Hamlet's own perspective would itself seem more suspect, as he