A Little More on Church-Man’s Skepticism, and Hamlet

Reflecting on CMS last night, I was struck again by how much Hamlet is shaped by it.  I suppose that is little surprise, really, since we know that Montaigne (in Florio’s translation) marked Shakespeare’s thought and language and that bits of the play rework bits of Montaigne.  But it is also true–and here I do not know whether to say that Montaigne’s presence in the play is cause or effect or something else–that the Wisdom books of the Old Testament (including the sapiential Psalms) are also present throughout it.  Hamlet is the Church-Man unbalanced, striving for some way of grasping per omnia vanitas without losing his grip on all that matters, and all that matters to him:  CMS melds with madness.  Hamlet strips Montaigne of the ironic strength of Socrates; Hamlet wittily but unwittingly depraves Montaigne’s skillful inconsequence into lived meaninglessness.

Hamlet forces his smiles.

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