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Hamlet's Arab JourneyShakespeare's Prince and Nasser's Ghost$
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Margaret Litvin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691137803

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691137803.001.0001

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Hamletizing the Arab Muslim Hero, 1964–67

Hamletizing the Arab Muslim Hero, 1964–67

(p.91) 4 Hamletizing the Arab Muslim Hero, 1964–67
Hamlet's Arab Journey

Margaret Litvin

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines a related bid for political agency (1964–67): the pursuit of interiorized subjectivity as proof of moral personhood. As the Egyptian theatre grew more ambitious, playwrights strove to create dramatic exemplars of authentic Arab political action. This in turn required characters who were “deep” enough to qualify as fully fledged moral subjects and hence modern political agents, such as Hamlet. Looking at two landmark plays in which critics have heard Hamletian echoes, Sulayman of Aleppo by Alfred Farag and The Tragedy of Al-Hallaj by Salah Abdel Sabur, the chapter argues that the “Hamletization” of their Muslim protagonists is neither subversive in spirit nor driven by any desire to seize mastery of a colonizer's text. Rather, Hamlet serves as a model and even an emblem of psychological interiority.

Keywords:   interiorized subjectivity, moral personhood, moral subjects, modern political agents, Sulayman of Aleppo, Alfred Farag, The Tragedy of Al-Hallaj, Salah Abdel Sabur, Hamletization, psychological interiority

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