“What’s waiting there?” – Dostoevsky’s Hamlets, and a Glance at Dostoevsky’s Shakespeareana Cover Image
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„Co będzie tam?”, czyli Hamleci Dostojewskiego (z rzutem oka na szekspiriana rosyjskiego geniusza)
“What’s waiting there?” – Dostoevsky’s Hamlets, and a Glance at Dostoevsky’s Shakespeareana

Author(s): Tadeusz Sucharski
Subject(s): Theatre, Dance, Performing Arts, Cultural history, Theoretical Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Studies of Literature, Philology, Theory of Literature, British Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: Dostoevsky; Hamlet; Shakespeare; Russian literature
Summary/Abstract: This short article presents the multi-dimensional links between the thoughts and works of Dostoevsky and the plays of Shakespeare. In one way or another, Dostoevsky lived his whole life under Shakespeare’s spell. He saw in Shakespeare an artist endowed with the power to reveal the ineffable aspects of reality, and his fascination is palpable in his numerous inter-textual allusions, quotations and cryptic references to Shakespeare’s plays as well as in his approach to characterisation (Stavrogin in The Possessed). Hamlet was a particularly important play to Dostoevsky, who saw Prince Hamlet as a champion of metaphysical rebellion. To him, Hamlet’s lines contained some of the most important existential dilemmas such as reflections on man’s place in the cosmos and musings on “existence” beyond the grave. From his youngest days suicide was always a lasting influence on Dostoevsky’s thinking; his best novels tend to contain characters who are “logically” drawn to suicide and have to undergo a variety of trials as if trying to find an ultimate answer to Hamlet’s famous question. To Dostoevsky, however, suicide was part and parcel of the human experience in a hopeless world stripped of all transcendence and stranded in a limbo between “the truth of science” and “the truth of faith”. Unlike the times of Hamlet, when things may have been chaotic but faith still prevailed, Dostoevsky’s characters exist in a period of empty transcendence and wanton free will, where suicide becomes a desperate attempt to find metaphysical consolation.

  • Page Range: 331-354
  • Page Count: 24
  • Publication Year: 2013
  • Language: English, Polish