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The Core Curriculum

Adaptation of Aeneid 2 in Shakespeare's Hamlet

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In the second scene of Act 2 of Hamlet, Shakespeare's brilliant adaptation of the description of Priam's death in Aeneid 2 both points to the performative aspects inherent in Virgil's poem and offers a glimpse into the highly influential literary afterlife that the Aeneid would enjoy.  We can see the Shakespearean commentary on performance within performance all the more clearly in the following two versions of the scene.  The first clip is from Kenneth Branagh's 1996 movie version of Hamlet, with Charlton Heston playing the First Player.  The second is from a Royal Shakespeare Company production of 2009.

Artistic Response
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Literature Humanities