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Hung Bui

on 17 March 2014

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Definition of Reader Response:
It is the reader's judgment to a literary work
Critical Thinking:
Reader Response to Hamlet

Prompt: Research a critical perspective and use that critical perspective to better understand Hamlet's message and how it connects to both the past and present.
Reader's own response
There are different types of reader response criticism:
“Reader-response critics emphasize two additional points about the range and variety of reader’s interpretation. First, an individual reader’s interpretation of a work maybe change, in fact, probably will over time”(DiYanni).
Reader Response Criticism
Interpretation of literary works vary with each reader, thus with the use of the critical theory, reader response, readers can interpret Hamlet through their own perspective.
How might someones response be different from another person?
Age, wisdom, and experience influence a reader's opinion on any literary work
A young individual might have a negative attitude on a story because they might not be willing to get the overall picture or message of the story
Meanwhile, an older person might have more insight because of more experience
A literary work has no meaning until it is read by the reader.
Instead, the reader makes the meaning of the work through his/hers interpretation

Author On Author
Stated in the article:
Author: Aparna Iyer
T.S. Elliot states in his article that, “Few critics have even admitted that Hamlet the play is the primary problem, and Hamlet the character only secondary. And Hamlet the character has had an especial temptation for that most dangerous type of critic: the critic with a mind which is naturally of the creative order, but which through some weakness in creative power exercises itself in
criticism instead. These minds often find in Hamlet a vicarious existence for their own artistic realization.”

Types of Reader Response
T. S. Elliot believes the character Hamlet is the source of the criticism in the play.

Hamlet’s complex character of a depressing suicidal, yet enthusiastic nature touches readers personally to influence their judgement on the whole play.
"To be, or not to be--that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles" (lll. i. 123-125)
Text-centered reader response:
Shakespeare adds "the effect of the 'madness' not to lull but to arouse the king’s suspicion" (T.S. Elliot).
The madness causes the king to do various things such as call in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on Hamlet which creates a question in the readers of whether Rosencrantz and Guildenstern can be trusted.
Since Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Hamlet's childhood friends, the readers do not know whether they will turn on Hamlet or help him turn on Claudius, however the unexpected happens and Hamlet ends up killing them when he sends the letter of execution to England.
Text-centered reader response
It is the emphasis of the text and readers make inferences about the story through textual details
Readers only get the obvious meaning of the story through the texts given
Psychological reader response
Critic, Norman Holland, stated "every reader creates a specific identity theme unique to himself or herself in reading any literary work."
Readers make a more personal connection to the story
Responds to the text with emotional feelings
Crawford, Alexander W.
Hamlet, an ideal prince, and other essays in
Shakesperean interpretation: Hamlet; Merchant of Venice; Othello; King Lear
. Boston R.G. Badger, 1916. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2009.
< http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/hamlet/hamletsilence.html >.
Davis, Tenney L. "The Sanity of Hamlet."
. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec.
DiYanni, Robert.
Literature Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama
. 5th ed. New
York: McGraw-Hill, 2002. Print.
"Hamlet (1920)."
Hamlet by T. S. Eliot
. N.p., 13 Oct. 2009. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.
Iyer, Aparna. "Frailty, Thy Name is Hamlet."
Universal Journal/AYJW
. (2013 ):
n. page. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.
Jorgensen, Paul A. "Hamlet's Therapy."
. Jstor, n.d. Web. 15
Dec. 2013.
Kemp, Lysander. "Understanding Hamlet."
. N.p., n.d. Web. 15
Dec. 2013.
Panganoran, Cristina. "Reader Response Hamlet."
Reader Response Hamlet
N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.
Rothman, Joshua. "Hamlet: A Love Story."
The New Yorker
. N.p., 14 Aug.
2013. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.
Scott, Linzy. "AP English Literature at Lovett."
AP English Literature at Lovett
N.p., 23 Nov. 2013. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.
Shaw. "Depressive Illness Delayed Hamlet's Revenge." --
28 (2): 92.
N.p., 07 Jan. 2012. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.
Sinclair, Peter. "Reader Response Criticism And Hamlet." Shakespeare
Seminar. N.p., 18 Feb. 2009. Web. 18 Dec. 2013.
Zeffirelli, Franco. Hamlet . 1990. Photograph.

Works Cited
In conclusion, reader response criticisms can differ depending on the age and ethnicity of the reader. A reader's expectations can help a reader respond to a novel or story, however it can also be defied. In today's modern society women have changed compared to the Elizabethan area because women are more independent today.

However, she contradicts Hamlet's beliefs on women by saying in her article "that it is inaccurate. 'Within a month" (153), as Hamlet reiterates throughout his soliloquy, Gertrude reacts to her husband's death with a confident, empowering decision to remarry. If Gertrude were frail, she would be devastated and broken, like Hamlet, to the result of King Hamlet's death. However, Gertrude picks up the pieces and marches forward, leaving a paralyzed Hamlet in the dust"(Iyer).

She states, "I am personally offended as I read the line, 'Frailty, thy name is woman!' (146) The statement catches my attention as I wonder how Hamlet can assume that all women are, by definition, frail and weak..."(Iyer).

Her response demonstrates a feminist perspective to the play and Shakespeare
Thus women today might hold an offensive response.
The author responds back to Hamlet's comment on women by stating the falseness of it.
She rationalizes the point that women aren't as weak as men at that time assumed.
Her response reflects the present day idea of women's equality with men
A famous author who had criticism on Hamlet was T.S. Elliot. Elliot criticized the novel
for having a very basic plot.
Iyer uses her emotions to respond to the play in her article, "
Frailty Thy Names is
" and connects them to modern Feminism
Presented by:
Christopher Quevedo
Hung Bui
Katherine Hoang
Teresa Morales

Types of Reader Response Cont.
Each literary work does not possess its own objective meaning that is identified with every reader.

Reader's Expectations
One way a critical reader responds to a story or novel is by reader's expectations. Reader's expectations is what reader's expect to happen in the story.
Reader's Expectations Defied
Since the play is a revenging tragedy, Shakespeare "builds us up from Acts 1 to 3 to make us wish for Hamlet to circumvent his revenging role"(Sinclair). Although he builds up all this vengeance in Hamlet, the ending becomes anti-climactic.
2006. Photograph. Utminers , Texas . Web. 18 Dec
2013. <http://utminers.utep.edu/omwilliamson/engl0310link/readerresponse.htm>.
2013. Photograph. Monashores , Texas . Web. 17 Dec
2013. <http://blogs.monashores.net/johnsonk/>
2012. Photograph. JmeachamWeb. 18 Dec 2013. <http:/
N.d. Photograph. n.p. Print.
2011. Photograph. Well, Happy, PeacefulWeb. 18
Dec 2013. <http://www.wellhappypeaceful.com/the-joy-of-growing-old/>.
2011. Photograph. RoiremoldtrigWeb. 18 Dec 2013.
Ronald, Grant.
Great Dane...Laurence Oliver as Hamlet
. 2010. Photograph.
The Guardian Web. 18 Dec 2013. <http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2010
2012. Photograph. Jami Gold Web. 18 Dec 2013. <http://jamigold.com/2012/06/3-tips-for-writing-heavy-emotional-scenes/>.
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