France's First Revolution: Hamlet and the "Unresolved Man" of 1589

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Abstract:

In 1589, Paris experienced an unprecedented wave of fanaticism. Outraged at the king's Christmas assassination of the Guise brothers, the city revolted against the crown and was swept with nearly daily religious processions. But despite Denis Crouzet's compelling account of the millennial and apocalyptic tendencies driving the movement, examination of the Holy League's rhetoric reveals a powerful counter-current that quickly drew writers back to the calmer waters of common sense. Having become preoccupied with the moderate "Politiques," whom they sought to caricature through the figure of the Unresolved Man, Leaguers found themselves forced to mimic the rhetoric of their asymmetrical opponent. Through Matthieu's Guisiade and Marlowe's Edward II, the Unresolved Man of these pamphlets stands as a direct ancestor of Hamlet and the modern, "undecided" subject.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 29, 2006

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