Literary Lectures: Dr Anna Beer (Kellogg College, Oxford) on Shakespeare’s "Hamlet"

Profile shot1The English Department’s Literary Lectures series launched on Wednesday 1st November with a talk on Shakespeare’s Hamlet given by Dr Anna Beer, a Visiting Fellow from the English Faculty of the University of Oxford.

Dr Beer offered seven ways of looking at the play, which included a consideration of how Hamlet can be seen within the broader context of theatre during Shakespeare’s time, as well as the play’s own sense of meta-theatricality. The significance of Hamlet as a revenge tragedy and how the play can be interpreted through the lens of gender and feminism were also touched upon. Dr Beer also discussed the play’s framing historical and political contexts, Shakespeare’s source material and suggested methods for close reading.

An audience comprising Sixth Formers – many of whom are currently studying Hamlet as one of their A Level English Literature set texts – as well as parents, staff and girls lower down in the school went on to ask Dr Beer about the philosophical and religious angles underpinning the play, as well as performance history and its enduring nature in the literary canon.

Written by Mr Li - Head of English