Date of Award

4-22-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Thesis

Department

English

Abstract

The reason that Hamlet and Don Quixote can be studied so thoroughly on the poststructuralist notion of a false or constructed reality is because they were both works far ahead of their time, often reflecting extremely postmodernist ideas. Don Quixote is generally considered the first modern novel, and Hamlet is also identified with the beginning of the modern age (Oort 319). Yet beyond this, these authors play games with the reader and with the structure of the fiction itself, which would fit sensibly in a 20th or 21st century novel rather than an early 17th century work. These new methods of literary iv criticism can place such texts in a context not yet visible to the 17th century eye. Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of reality; more specifically, post-structuralism explores the chaotic yet socially constructed nature of reality. These critical theories, anachronistic as they may be, are extremely pertinent to both Hamlet and Don Quixote in how they define, narrate, and construct reality.