ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Political Hamlet: Player Scenes

Years ago, the author's examination of the Player scenes in Hamlet seems to have aroused the collective anxiety of the bourgeois scholar-phalanx. Apart from the Players' part in a political intrigue, of which they were innocent, they embodied a form of popular culture that was held in suspicion but recognised as discharging an important function as communicator of vital social norms.

Deconstruction is a fanatical herme­neutic of suspicion. All cultural artefacts are treated by it from outside as though there are bound to be hidden traps and quick sands that might take the reader/student unawares and endanger the smug ­security of his sceptical self. Canons are naturally dismissed as instruments of politico-cultural hegemony over the unwary reader.

This has at times led to brilliant discoveries, but has also undermined the value of long-honoured texts. A familiar example is Conrad’s Heart of Darkness; reams of print have been rolled out to prove the racialism and colonialism of which tale, until it has become a bye-word. But a patient and unprejudiced reader may still find in it hints of the diabolical nature of colonialism and the sheer self-delusion of the idealism of western empire builders and their civilising mission. As for the ignorance of Africa and prejudice against it, those are hardly the point of the story and are ­easily attributable to the narrator.

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