The Interpretive Effects of an Affecting Interpretation
"For there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so" (2.2, 249-250)
From the start of Shakespeare's Hamlet it is clear that much of the action is cerebral. The play never escapes the confines of Hamlet's head. One is never sure if Hamlet's madness is actual or contrived, or if his mother's intentions are adulterous or innocent. This is because Hamlet's interpretation of the events is the dominating voice of the play. He declares that there is no meaning outside of thought "thinking makes it so" because his thoughts and opinions are the only arbiter of "good or bad." The action in Samuel Delany's The Tale of Gorgik is similarly confined to the protagonist's interpretation of his world. Gorgik's narrative involves his struggle to constantly read and interpret the foreign world of court life.
Both Hamlet and Gorgik must rely on their evolving sense of the action surrounding them to navigate social contexts. Their social navigation is analogous to the reader's experience navigating a text. Their interpretive stances of the affect the action of the play just as the reader's interpretation creates the meaning of a text.
A symptom of Gorgik's and...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 724 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4177 literature essays, 1402 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in