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Medieval Archetypes Utilized in Hamlet
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Hamlet by William Shakespeare is a complex play because of its multiple dimensions. Upon dissection, the influence of other works can be observed in it. One of the most prominent of these works is the York "Fall of Man". This particular play is a very poor remake of the book of Genesis in the bible. However, William Shakespeare utilizes the medieval traditions exemplified in the "Fall of Man" to create the characters in Hamlet.
For example, Hamlet's mother, Queen Gertrude, shows an uncanny parallel to Eve from the "Fall of Man". Gertrude's behavior and characteristics fall under the archetype presented in the rendition of Genesis. Eve can be described as: gullible, naïve, accidentally rebellious, trusting, curious, manipulated, and egocentric. These same traits can be used to identify Gertrude's personality as well.
In part three of the "Fall of Man", Satan, in the form of the worme, is trying to convince Eve to rebel against God by eating the forbidden fruit. The worme claims that it will make her omnipotent. When Eve questions Satan, he replies, "Why trowes thou nog[h]t me?/ I wolde by no- kynnes ways/ Telle nog[h]t but trouthe to the[e]" (pg 270, line 75).
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