Prince of Denmark, King of Killers

"The hallmark of the psychopath is the inability to recognize others as worthy of compassion."

-Shirley Lynn Scott, What Makes Serial Killers Tick?

"They are not near my conscience."

Hamlet, after condemning childhood friends to death.

Most readers regard Shakespeare's Prince Hamlet as the archetypal hero: a man torn between duty and denial, between revenge and reserve. Throughout, Hamlet stands alone against a vast conspiracy of regicide, incest and espionage. Alone he remains, until the tragic finale when the dying Hamlet strikes down Claudius, his murderous uncle. Yet, upon further study, regarding Hamlet as a hero poses a great problem. For in creating Hamlet, Shakespeare achieved what no one would until the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation did some 400 years later. William Shakespeare, in the sixteenth century, provides in Hamlet not the archetype for a hero, but the prototype for today's modern psychopathic killer. Prince Hamlet meets many requirements for such a distinction, for he comes from an unnatural home environment; he feels an overriding sense of vengeance towards others; he disguises himself in another personality; and finally, he kills unmercifully anyone who crosses...

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