Thursday, August 24, 2006

When Hamlet Met Claudius

Shakespeare in the Bush is an old but toally awesome essay by anthropologist Laura Bohannon that could spark a great discussion about the supposed universality of Shakespeare. While visiting the Tiv people in West Africa, she tried to tell them the story of Hamlet--and got it all wrong according to her hosts. Frankly, I think the Tiv interpretation makes more sense than Shakespeare's. (Will's play was an adaptation of an existing story about the Prince of Denmark, which scholars refer to as the Ur-Hamlet.)

This essay would be a great companion piece for kids studying Hamlet or to spark a discussion about how western culture is viewed by non-westerners. Click here for an interesting article by on both Hamlet and the Ur-Hamlet in an interview with Hamlet scholar Harold Bloom.

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