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Religions 2019, 10(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010019

Hamlet the Heretic: The Prince’s Albigensian Rhetoric

Department of English, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI 49401, USA
Received: 19 November 2018 / Revised: 26 December 2018 / Accepted: 28 December 2018 / Published: 29 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religions in Shakespeare's Writings)
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Abstract

Some of Hamlet’s speeches reflect a dualistic view of the world and of humanity, echoing in particular some of the heretical beliefs of the Albigensians in southern France some centuries earlier. The Albigensians thought that the evil deity created the human body as a trap for the souls created by the good god, and Hamlet repeatedly expresses disgust with the body, a “quintessence of dust” (II.ii.304–305). Because they regarded the body as a soul trap, the Albigensians believed that marriage and procreation should be avoided. “Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?” Hamlet demands of Ophelia, adding that “it were better my mother had not borne me” (III.i.121–24). He sounds most like a heretic when he goes on to say “we will have no more marriage” (III.i.147). Though Hamlet continues with dualistic talk nearly to the end, there is some turning toward orthodox Christianity. View Full-Text
Keywords: Hamlet; Albigensian heresy; Dualism; Catholicism Hamlet; Albigensian heresy; Dualism; Catholicism
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Lockerd, B. Hamlet the Heretic: The Prince’s Albigensian Rhetoric. Religions 2019, 10, 19.

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