Shakespeare Ghosting in the Finnish Hamlet’s Tragedy Cover Image

Shakespeare Ghosting in the Finnish Hamlet’s Tragedy
Shakespeare Ghosting in the Finnish Hamlet’s Tragedy

Author(s): Yvette Jankó Szép
Subject(s): Theatre, Dance, Performing Arts
Published by: Universitatea de Arte din Târgu Mureş - A Marosvásárhelyi Művészeti Egyetem Kiadója
Keywords: Kullervo/Hamlet; haunting; Kalevala mythology; Shakespearean dramaturgy; revenge tragedy

Summary/Abstract: The mythical Kullervo’s story is strikingly similar to the more widely known myths of Orestes and Amleth/Hamlet repeatedly rewritten in European literature in various ages and genres. The avenging son’s, Kullervo Kalervonpoika’s Finnish myth shares its scenario with these archetypal stories, and is related to the Scandinavian Amleth/Hamlet saga, which served as an inspiration for Shakespeare’s tragedy of the prince of Denmark. In the case of the Kullervo myth, however, there is no really authoritative, "final", canonized version. Since Kullervo's first written appearance in Elias Lönnrot’s Kalevala, his story has been singled out as the most suitable for dramatic adaptation. Aleksis Kivi's tragedy could have maybe occupied the revered position of the foremost tragedy in Finnish drama, had it not been criticized severely on its publication by one of the most influential critics of the time for its heterogeneity interpreted as roughness, and for its episodic dramaturgy due to a clear Shakespearean influence.In my paper I will try to trace down the way in which this pre-Shakespearean mythical story transformed into a sadly underestimated post-Shakespearean tragedy in the second half of the 19th century, Shakespeare (and his prince of Denmark) being not a mediator of the story in this case, but rather a ghosting influence upon its rewriting in another cultural context and mythical universe.

  • Issue Year: XV/2014
  • Issue No: 27
  • Page Range: 61-67
  • Page Count: 7
  • Language: English