This essay reconsiders Hamlet's second soliloquy by locating it within the reconstructed contexts of early modern writing on memory and the ars memoriae. Within these, the Aristotelian distinction between remembering and recollecting is shown to be crucial, as is the interwoven series of metaphors through which mnemonic activities were discussed. These metaphors enable Hamlet to misrepresent the reality of his inner life in response to the Ghost's revelations, most notably in his pursuit of mnemonic erasure. Viewed from this perspective, Hamlet emerges not as one burdened by the memory of his father, or by the need to purge himself of it; rather, from the moment the revenge plot is set in motion, Hamlet is shown to struggle against the very lack of vividness with which both his father and the urge to vengeance exist in his mind.


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pp. 609-641
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