Abstract

Abstract:

Even when uttered with the best of intentions, an apology pursues contradictory goals: as a confession of guilt it invites condemnation, but as a petition for forgiveness it seeks to soften condemnation. Some philosophers have tried to clean up this illocutionary messiness by defining apology strictly as either moral acknowledgment or as an instrumental means to achieving pardon. Taking revenge tragedy as a literary genre that thematizes the refusal to forgive or forget past offenses, this essay considers three apologies in Shakespeare's Hamlet in order to argue that not only are philosophical efforts to purge ambiguity from apologies likely to fail but they are also ultimately undesirable.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 155-177
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-20
Open Access
No
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