Alasdair Macintyre, Ghost Kid on Stairs 2, 2019.
Ghosts aren’t just the domain of fiction or trick-or-treating. Hauntology is a philosophical concept that embraces ghosts.
Ralph Fiennes as Coriolanus in the 2011 film adaptation.
Hermetof Pictures, Piccadilly Pictures, Icon Entertainment International
In 26 of his 38 plays, Shakespeare includes a war. Reading them, one is tempted to ask ‘when will we ever learn?’ rather than pronounce, ‘lest we forget’.
David Tennant as Hamlet in a 2009 production.
BBC Wales, Royal Shakespeare Company
Hamlet, the tormented prince of Denmark, embodies our own struggles: between reason and violence, courage and inaction. He is a modern character in an endlessly quotable play.
Brett Boardman/Bell Shakespeare
After two years of COVID-delay, Bell Shakespeare’s Hamlet reflects both personal and global tragedies.
Hamlet and Ophelia by Agnes Pringle.
Chiswick Town Hall
You might think he’s the hero of his own story but the murder happy Hamlet is really an unconscionable brute.
Literature from long ago speaks to the human experience of plague.
Marco Rosario Venturini Autieri/Getty
From ‘islands of pain’ to the ‘peril of exposure,’ writers have captured the fear, emptiness and despair that characterize life during the current pandemic, writes a poet and English scholar.
Martin’s Droeshout portrait of William Shakespeare (1623)
Bodleian Library, Oxford.
The Bard’s plays have an unfair reputation for being hard. You’re probably reading them in the wrong way.
Transversal Theater Company production of Titus Andronicus, 2012.
Even Samuel Johnson found some of Shakespeare’s violent scenes unwatchable.
Freezer stash of frozen breast milk.
MISS TREECHADA YOKSAN/Shutterstock.com
Human milk is being traded online in the mistaken belief that it is a panacea.
Allan Clayton as Hamlet and Lorina Gore as Ophelia in Brett Dean’s opera at the Adelaide Festival.
Neil Armfield’s production of the Brett Dean opera Hamlet is a confronting three hours in the theatre, but then so is Shakespeare’s play. The second act is devastating in its emotional impact.
Relics of St. Valentine of Terni at the basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin.
Dnalor 01 (Own work)
Valentine’s Day originated as a feast to celebrate the decapitation of a third-century Christian martyr, or perhaps two. It took a gruesome path to becoming a romantic holiday.
From Horace Walpole to Steven King, Shakespeare has inspired centuries of supernatural Gothic terror.
Macbeth And Banquo, Théodore Chassériau, 1855. Via Wikimedia Commons
Hamlet begins with a ‘night of the living dead’; Banquo turns into a ghost . The Bard had a supernatural streak and it was crucial to the genesis of Gothic literature.
We cannot help but remember Hamlet: it is iconic.
Robin Goldsworthy, Ivan Donato, Philip Dodd, Josh McConville. Photo: Daniel Boud
Hamlet is a play that haunts itself. Its saturation into cultural consciousness means that watching a performance is inevitably a process of past ghosts and past echoes framing the current performance.
Benedict Cumberbatch and cast in rehearsal.
© Johan Persson
What makes Hamlet the career defining role it is today?
‘To be, or not to be’ male or female? Maxine Peak plays Hamlet.
Jonathan Keenan/Royal Exchange Theatre
The ghost, in this autumn’s Royal Exchange Theatre production of Hamlet, is in the light bulbs. Hung over the stage, they flicker and hum as they mark Old Hamlet’s movements. They also set the scene for…