A Cross-cultural Analysis of Self-examination in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Chinese Philosophy and Tragedy


Western culture and Chinese culture are two completely different cultural systems in the world, while both of them can be analyzed together at a microscopic level. Although the protagonists in Chinese drama are not as complex as in Shakespearean drama where the characters are shaped by more than two aspects, the struggle of personality can be displayed in both. Consequently, in this paper, I will argue that the ideology of the self exists in Hamlet and Confucian texts. More specifically, through a comparison of Confucian ideology with western ideology, Hamlet can be analyzed in a cultural way that separately compares western ideology and Confucianism, Chinese drama and Shakespearean drama, and thus I will argue that some special characteristics belong to both Hamlet and Confucianism such as self-fashioning, self-revising, self-examination, and the desire to achieve an equilibrium (the “middle course”). I will then particularly analyze the tragedy of Ophelia, which relates Shakespearean drama with Chinese drama. This tragedy differs from Hamlet's and is an unadulterated and deep tragedy for all. Since Shakespeare’s eminence was located in his creation of multiple selves, when analyzing Hamlet, we can also analyze the selves in it, and then compare it with the corresponding consciousness in Confucianism to conduct cross-cultural communication.

Author Information
Daoyu Shi, Kunming University of Science and Technology, China

Paper Information
Conference: ECAH2020
Stream: Literature/Literary Studies

This paper is part of the ECAH2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Shi D. (2020) A Cross-cultural Analysis of Self-examination in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Chinese Philosophy and Tragedy ISSN: 2188-1111 – The European Conference on Arts & Humanities 2020: Official Conference Proceedings https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2188-1111.2020.16
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2188-1111.2020.16

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon