Comparison between Hamlet and Oblomov

Scientific Essay, 2017

49 Pages


Table of Contents

Research Objectives

Research Questions

Significance and Scope of Research

Research Methodology

1. Introduction

2. Literature Review

3. Comparison between Hamlet and Oblomov

4. Hamlet and Oblomov are Gentle Men

5. Hamlet’s Relation with Ophelia

6. Oblomov’s Relation with Olga

7. Hamlet and Oblomov as Superfluous Heroes

8. Hamlet and Oblomov as Representatives of Transition Periods

9. Conclusion


Comparison between Hamlet and Oblomov[1]

Javed Akhter


The aim of this research paper is to explore by comparing and contrasting between the two literary characters Hamlet and Oblomov how they are in their essence indecisive that are exploited by William Shakespeare and Ivan Goncharov in different historical ages to project different visions of the human situation. Every author is influenced by his age to certain degrees and if the art of characterisation of William Shakespeare is set against that of Ivan Goncharov, it is because of the difference of ideological perspectives. William Shakespeare’s character Hamlet comes from the Renaissance England and Ivan Goncharov’s character Oblomov comes from the nineteenth century Russia. The former is in certain ways different from the latter despite the fact that those traits of the both characters are the same as indecision and procrastination

The compare and contrast will be highlighted in this paper in terms of Marxist hermeneutics, which is scientific theory and method of analysing the social and literary types in the context of class milieu. Applying Marxist literary hermeneutics to the art of characterisation of both the authors, the present study tries to introduce new portrait and re-evaluation of the personages of the two literary types in an innovative perspective

Key Terms: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ivan Goncharov’s Oblomov, Sluggishness, Procrastination, Indecision, Superfluous heroes, Hamletism and Oblomovism

Research Objectives

The research objectives of this study are as follows:

To compare William Shakespeare’s character Hamlet with Ivan Goncharov’s character Oblomov from Marxist perspective for investigating and scrutinizing the commensalities of the two universal literary characters in terms of Marxist hermeneutics.

To prove the facts that the social formations based on private property such as slave-owning, feudalism and capitalism produce indecisive and sluggish characters like Hamlet and Oblomov, which are out of place in the Communist social formation.

To compare these two universal literary characters from Marxist hermeneutics for understanding the socio-political ethos of the epochs in which they are produced.

The common reason for the comparison of these two literary characters can be traced in the indecisions made by the two literary characters on their respected actions. The important point in both literacy characters is that failures to make decisions by these two literary characters lead them to inevitable results, which in turn determine the fate of each character.

Research Questions

The study will concentrate on the following research questions:

I. Why do Hamlet and Oblomov seem so close to each other?
II. What are the common characteristic and typical of the both characters’ indecision?
III. Is Hamlet like Oblomov a superfluous hero?

Significance and Scope of Research

The paper will contribute extensively in understanding the compare and contrast between the two literary types through Marxist hermeneutics in the light of socio-economic ethos of the two historical eras to which they belong. The study corresponds to relatively an unexplored field in comparative literature, because no worthwhile comparative study of the two literary types: Hamlet and Oblomov exists in this regard. Therefore, the present study will be an addition and contribution in the sphere of comparative literature. It explores an important problematical issue of comparison and contrast between the two literary types. It is very important to note that his study is not based upon the textual comparison between the two texts: “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” and “Oblomov”, but it is only a comparative study of the two literary types Hamlet and Oblomov. The finding and suggestions for further study may be utilized by the research scholars on the subject.

Research Methodology

The study is narrative research and follows descriptive-cum analytical method, in this research, the instruments of collecting data may be the calculation of databases and computer networks. In this regard, the researcher has collected data based on qualitative descriptive method, content analysis, and library method. The results showed that even though the two universal literary characters: Hamlet and Oblomov were produced in the two different historical ages, cultures, countries, nations, and literary genres, they possessed striking similarities to each other in terms of fictional core and traits of characters such as procrastination, irresolution and indecision.

The textual references are given as evidence to support the argument of this research. The key concepts of Marxist hermeneutics as well as indecision, sluggishness, inability and procrastination of the two universal literary characters are discussed in relation to the text in this research. Marxist hermeneutics of studying and comparing the two literary characters is an important ingredient of this research. Therefore, the commonalities of the two literary characters are compared and analysed on the bedrock of Marxist hermeneutics.

Relevant citations, quotations, and extracts in the text of this paper in general and the list of references in particular, have been followed in accordance with APA (American Psychological Association) style from the primary and secondary data on the subject of this research. The list of the cited sources is given under the heading of References at the end of this research paper.

1. Introduction

Typicality or characterisation is one of the most important aesthetic rules of artistic production of literature. The art of characterization or typicality not only makes the author famous but also makes the literary types memorable and universal. Indeed the literary types or characters are the reflection of men in the historical ethos of the social formation. The most memorable typical characters in literature possess verisimilitude, breadth and precise detail that make of the essential features or processes discernable within socio-political conditions of the social formation in which they are produced. Fredrick Engels says of typicality in literature as follows:

“Realism to my mind implies, besides truth of detail, the truthful reproduction of typical characters under typical circumstances” (Marx, Karl and F. Engels, 1965, pp. 401). This well-known statement of Fredrick Engels points to the significance of the typical in literature.

William Shakespeare was pre-eminently a great producer of typical literary characters. He possessed so extensive knowledge of human psychology that he was able to delineate memorable and universal literary types of flesh and blood in his plays, which were able to transcend the limits of time and space. Therefore, William Shakespeare’s contribution to cogitation of human types was profound and astonishing. From the age of William Shakespeare until the present Post-Modern age, his plays continue to be mind for insights into human psychology.

However, “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”, of Shakespeare’s tragedies, has aroused the great amount of debate and critical commentary. William Shakespeare produced a universal literary type in the figure of Hamlet in the Elizabethan era, which has become immortal and universal character in world literature. Hamlet seems close to the social types of every era and country as well as the contemporary world. That is why Hamlet is one of the most discussed of William Shakespeare’s debatable characters. He is so complex psychological type who becomes an enigma and so dominant a character in the play, who outshines all the other characters of the play.

For this reason, the Romantics opine Hamlet as “inverted Aristotle’s stress on primacy of action over character” (De Grazia, Margreta, 1999, p. 254). To Fredrick Hegel, Hamlet embodied the quest for “self-conscious...and self-determination” (De Grazia, Margreta, P. 255).A. C Bradley followed Fredrick Hegel to formulate his “key principle of Shakespearean tragedy: “action is essentially the expression of character” (De Grazia, Margreta, P. 257). The story of Hamlet concerns a young prince with a ghost of his dead father who talks only to him and instructs him to commit a revenge murder. Hamlet is tragically doomed to failure to avenge from his uncle King Claudius, the slayer of his father because of indecision. Therefore, he delayed and deferred his action in the whole play.

Ivan Goncharov (1812-1891) is one of the great realist Russian novelists of the nineteenth century. His masterpiece “Oblomov” (1859) is one of the greatest Russian novels, which constitutes a study of a perfectly new type in Russian literature, of a feudal lord who, though plunged in a slough of apathy from which nothing can arouse him, is yet a man of fine and noble instincts. What he utterly lacks and is ruined by, is his total lack of will power and resolution. Oblomov is likewise a study in the gradual collapse of illusory ideals and recognition of the real facts of the nineteenth-century Russian social formation. His figure in his dressing-gown has become a class image of slothfulness of the landed and serf-owning nobility.

In this manner, Ivan Goncharov depicted Oblomov in such a realistic manner that he has become immortal, passing into the Russian as well as other European languages. Therefore, Oblomov becomes immortal and memorable literary type in Russian Literature as Tartuffe in French literature and Pecksniff in English literature. Oblomov has not suddenly come down in Russian literature but in fact, he is developed form and culmination of the gentry hero familiar to us already from such types as Alexander Pushkin’s Onegin and Mikhail Lermontov’s Pechorin. He bears universal attributes, which place them alongside such universally recognizable types as Hamlet and Don Quixote. In this regard, Oblomov is the first example of large-scale artistic portraiture in Russian Literature. His characterization is assumed to mean not only the relationship of character to the feudal and serf-owning social formation of Tsarist Russia or to another character, but the relating as nearly as feasible, of the totality of a character’s experience, from boyhood to death.

Ivan Goncharov places Oblomov in the squalid setting of his apartment in Westernized imperial capital St Petersburg, where at the opening of the novel he spends a whole day in a shlafrok dressing-gown rejecting the overtures of visitors from the cold outside world or quarrelling with his serf Zakhar. He possesses three hundred serfs in his county estates of Oblomovka. He is principally such kind of lethargic person who, shortly roused from his dressing-gown torpor by the attraction of the novel’s heroine, Olga. Subsequently, he spends an enchanted summer in gentle courtship of her (part 11 and 111 of the novel), only to retreat again into his dressing-gown existence when winter approaches. However, there are the lovingly designed vistas of ‘Oblomov’s Dream’ or the chorus-like commentaries of the novel’s ‘positive’ hero, Schtoltz, beyond this principally static and fluidly episodic twofold portraiture, which give perspective of time and meaning to Oblomov’s characterization.

The fact that the two literary characters Hamlet and Oblomov have their own ways of perceiving their epochal periods and that they have the impact of different socio-economic and infrastructural developments and ideological suprastructrural levels of social formation. These factors in produce such type of ‘‘European-style snob’’, the ‘‘useless chap’’ and “the superfluous man”. In fact, these literary characters are product of the social formation of feudalism, belonging to the feudal nobility and hence indecision and sluggishness are the characteristics of the class of feudal nobility.

However, the both literary characters come from transition periods from feudalism to capitalism. Hamlet comes from the Renaissance period and Oblomov comes from the mid nineteenth-century. These two epochs are periods of transition from the old order of feudalism to the new order of capitalism. Therefore, the process of rejection of the old values and acceptance the new values, was not yet completed, so confusion and indecision is prevailed all over the both periods. That is why Hamlet and Oblomov represent this socio-historical situation of confusion and irresolution.

In this research paper, the researcher has highlighted the comparative study of these two memorable and universal literary characters of Hamlet and Oblomov, utilizing Marxist interpretative tools of comparative literature. Marxist approach to Hamlet and Oblomov does not need the vulgarities of crude overstatement, nor must it-----as vulgar materialist and sociologist critics often attempt far too crude short cuts from economic to literature. This Marxist comparative study is fundamentally not any different from the study of national literature, except its subject matter is much vaster. Instead of confining itself to the wave of single historical epoch, this paper looks beyond the specific boundary of frontier in order to discern trends and movements in the light of the socio-economic conditions of the two different historical epochs.

2. Literature Review

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet has aroused the great amount of debate and critical commentary. No critic from the Elizabethan period until of the present day has been able to neglect this complex and problematic literary character. A critical theory become fashionable and out of fashion in academia and scholarship, but always Hamlet remains the focal and central point of debate and great controversy in literary criticism. Most of the critics agree on the point that Hamlet is an irresolute and indecisive character. The Neo-Classicists fixed their gaze on indecision of this literary type. The Romantists also concentrate on this characteristic of Hamlet. S. T Coleridge says, “Seemingly accomplished for the greatest actions...whose existence is nevertheless an unperforming dream” (S.T Coleridge in Jump, John, 1968, p. 31). William Hazlitt, S.T Coleridge, A. C Bradley and Sigmund Freud opine Hamlet’s hesitation as “only an excuse for his want of resolution” (William Hazlitt quoted in Jenkins, Harold, 1982, p. 513).

Sigmund Freud psychoanalysed the character of Hamlet in his works. The classic example of Freudian psychoanalytic approach is, of course, Dr. Alfred Ernest Jones’s study of Hamlet, which provides a solution to the puzzle of Hamlet’s delay in avenging his father in a full-scale psychoanalytic treatment of Hamlet’s character in his essay “Hamlet and Oedipus” (1957). The psychoanalytical critics trumped self-consciousness, claiming that only the Freudian Unconscious “can account for why a character distinguished by self-reflection cannot know his own motives” (De Grazia, Margreta, 1999, P. 260). Restudying Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan redefined Hamlet-and modern awareness-no longer reading the text as tragedy merely of repressed desire but as a tragedy of “mourning for what it has had to give up” (De Grazia, Margreta, 1999, P. 261).

Jacques Derrida also took interest in William Shakespeare’s plays especially in “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet, employing his deconstructive hermeneutics, whish yields very interesting and thought provoking results. He identified the Ghost of Hamlet with the Marxian “spectre” haunting Europe in the first line of the Communist Manifesto in his book “Spectres of Marx” (1994). In the deconstructionist reading, Hamlet represents “a certain emancipator and messianic affirmation” (De Grazia, Margreta P. 264), implying an absolute justice “beyond the logic of vengeance” existing in a non-linear “deferred time” (De Grazia, Margreta, 1999, P. 265).

Jacques Derrida’s book “Spectres of Marx” inspired the critics to study Hamlet in Derridean manners. Sedinger studied various facets of Hamlet to extend the discussion of Jacques Derrida’s book “Spectres of Marx” (2007) in the context of historical critiques of presentation. Marthinus Christoffel Van Niekerk in his dissertation entitled “Shakespeare’s Play: deconstructive Reading of the Merchant of Venice, the Tempest, Measure for Measure and Hamlet” (2003) analysed Hamlet in Derridean deconstructive perspective. Noorbakhsh Hooti did so in his research paper entitled “William Shakespeare’s Hamlet: A Deconstructive Study” (2013).

New Historicist and cultural materialist critics concentrated on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. They argue that subjects cannot transcend their own time but live and work within the horizon of a culture constructed by ideology. The major common assumptions between new historicism and cultural materialism are the ideological constructions that authors live in and have internalized, inevitably become part of their work, which is therefore always political and vehicle for power struggle. As Dollimore and Sinfield put that “a play by Shakespeare is related to the context of its production-to economic and political system of Elizabethan and Jacobean England and to particular institutions of cultural production (the church, patronage, theatre, education) ...culture is made continuously and Shakespeare’s text is reconstructed, reappraised, reassigned all the time through diverse institutions in specific contexts. What the plays signify, how they signify, depends on the cultural field in which they are situated” (Dollimore and Sinfield, 1985, p. viii).

There are some other approaches to Hamlet. Hooper highlights the puns and the dangerous doubles as he finds them in the characters of Hamlet and Claudius in his paper entitled “Dangerous Doubles: Puns and Language in Shakespeare’s Hamlet Chrestomathy” (2003). Vanessa Pupavac in her paper entitled “Hamlet’s Crisis of Meaning, Mental Wellbeing and Meaninglessness in the War on Terror” studied Hamlet in a new perspective of war on terrier. Most recently, N. Maleki in his paper “The Paradigm Examples of Polar Concept in Shakespeare’s Hamlet” (2012) has tried to focus on the polar concept for a much deeper understanding and a far joyful enjoyment of Hamlet’s world through heirarchizing the different opposing concepts. Keys, Charlotte in the chapter four “A Kind of Fighting: Subjective Life in Hamlet” of her PhD Thesis entitled “Shakespeare’s Existentialism” submitted to Royal Holloway, University of London proves Hamlet as existential hero.

Many Marxist literary critics, including Karl Marx studied Hamlet in new and innovative Marxist perspective. Catherine Belsey studied William Shakespeare in her book “Critical Practice” (1980) in an innovative Marxist perspective. In this respect, Terry Eagleton’s Deconstructive Marxist study of Hamlet is sound interesting. In his view the character of Hamlet is “decentred, who does not wish to be part of the Lacanian “symbolic order”, and moves toward the realm of “bourgeois individuality. He possesses no “essence” of being whatever, no inner sanctum to be safeguarded: he is pure deferral and diffusion, a hollow void which offers nothing determinate to be known” (Eagleton, Terry, 1986, pp. 71- 75). Fredric Jameson also analyses Hamlet in his paper entitled “Marx’ Purloined Letter” (1995), reviewing Jacques Derrida’s book “Spectres of Marx” in innovative and brilliant Marxist perspective. Richard Halpern’s intelligent critical response to “Derrida’s Reading of Hamlet and Marx” (2001) in a Marxist perspective, is also an illuminating essay in Jean Howard and Scott Cutler Shershow’s edited collection entitled “Marxist Shakespeare” (2001).

Ivan Goncharov’s novel “Oblomov” and its central characters such as Oblomov and Andrey Schtoltz were imbued with controversial opinions by the Russian critics of the 1860s immediately following the publication of the novel. Nikolai Aleksandrovich Dobrolyubov wrote the most celebrated essay entitled “What is Oblomovism?” This critical review appeared in the journal “The contemporary” in May 1859 in which he analysed the social aspect of the character of Oblomov, applying the theory of social criticism of Belinsky as a tool. In contrast to Oblomov, he regarded the character of Andrey Schtoltz as an “antidote” to the character of Oblomov because of his mobility, progress, new ideas and resolution.

For this reason, this essay generated a great controversy between the radical revolutionary democrats and the liberals of the sixties, confronting with each other in Russia in those days. Alexander Herzen, one of the liberals, answered Nikolai Dobrolyubov with an essay entitled “Very Dangerous” in which he showed his disagreement with Nikolai Dobrolyubov’s standpoint. This controversy set a new fashion in literary criticism to compare the two characters of the novel from different opinions. In Galya Diment’s view, the character of Andrey Schtoltz is a “prototype” for the future that is “too schematic” (Diment, Galya, 1998, p. 30). D. Senese presents a re-evaluation of Nikolai Dobrolyubov’s critical review of the novel, considering the character of Andrey Schtoltz as a “plot device and foil” (Senese, D., 2003, pp. 88).

While Nikolai Dobrolyubov’s criticism devalues the importance of Andrey in the narrative, it does not dismiss entirely the notion of a character such as Andrey existing in Russia, and the critic invokes the ‘’author’s acknowledgement’’ that Andreys would arrive “with Russian names” in the future. Nikolai Dobrolyubov, therefore, takes issue not with the substance of the character (as subsequent critics would), but rather with the timeframe (Seeley, 2003, p. 336). “While many critics have bristled at the supposition that Goncharov intended for Andrey, the German (or half-German) to save Russia from Oblomovism” (Diment, Galya, 1998, p. 30).

Indeed, if Dobrolyubov were to take this character as possible in the present tense his argument would collapse, because he reads the novel as a social document, similar to Belinsky’s literary criticism (Stacy, 1985, p. 101). This viewpoint has led Kuhun to argue that Dobrolyubov’s essay had many goals, such as an attack upon Herzen’s interpretation of ‘’superfluous man.’’ but that ‘’none of (them) were strictly literary ‘’ (Kuhn, 1971, p. 97). If Dobrolyubov had admitted the possibility of Andrey’s existence in Russia, there would be no foundations to portray Oblomovism as a general social ill pervasive across Russia and as an inevitable result of serfdom. Dobrolyubov’s criticism of Andrey as an unrealistic character was therefore grounded in the critic’s goal to use literary works of art as a springboard to broader social critique (Setchkarev, 1967, pp. 1799-1800).

For this reason, McLean treats Andrey Schtoltz character as a “theoretical abstraction” (McLean, 1998, p. 50). M. Shishkin also regards the character of Andrey Schtoltz as an antipode of the character of Oblomov (Shishkin, M., 2008, pp. 545-552). A. Muza regards the character of Andrey Schtoltz as a “topos of the German element in Russia” (Muza, A., 2000, p. 186). All approaches of the contemporary critics of Ivan Goncharov to judge the character of Oblomov made absolute the social aspect of the character and ignored all the rest. Such type of critical interpretations is limited to diametric oppositions between the two characters (Setchkarev, 1967, pp. 1799-1805; Ehre, 1973, p. 197; Peace, 1991, p. 13). F. Seeley’s “The Heyday of the ‘Superfluous Man’ in Russia,” Franklin Reeve’s paper “Oblomovism Revisited,” and Leon Stallman’s essay “Oblomovka Revisited,” are exhaustive and thought-provoking research works on the Oblomov’s phenomenon.

Contrary to the diametric comparative tradition, Joshua S. Walker presents a comparative and contrastive study between the characters of Oblomov and Andrey Schtoltz in his article entitled “Neither Burgher nor Barin: An Imagological and Intercultural Reading of Andrey Schtoltz in Ivan Goncharove’s Oblomov (1859).” He challenges the previous theories that give privilege the character of Andrey Schtoltz over the character of Oblomov, proving him as antidote and antipode of the character of Oblomov. Joshua S. Walker states that Andrey Schtoltz is “as more than either a weak point in the novel or as plot device and simple foil to Oblomov” (Walker, Joshua S., 2013, p. 5). In doing so, he utilizes the Imagological methodology, a new school of criticism that took shape in France in the 1950s and gained a scholarly following in the following decades in Germany (Leerssen, 2007, pp. 17-32).

These books and research papers are sound interesting, most informative and thought provoking on both of the characters: Hamlet and Oblomov in many respects, but no one makes attempt to compare Hamlet with Oblomov. However, as this literature survey proves that both literary characters are indecisive and irresolute in their life, therefore, they may be compared on these grounds. For this reason, Abu Saleh Md. Rafi in his research paper, “The Comparative Nature in Comparative Literature: A Case-study of Some Major Bengali Literary Works in Conjunction of Other National Literatures”, suggests that “the Russian novel Oblomov may be compared to Hamlet because each work is a character study of indecision and procrastination” (Rafi, Abu Saleh Md., 2012, p. 2 ).

This suggestive clue has inspired me to attempt a comparative study of the literary characters of Hamlet and Oblomov. So on this ground, a comparison is conducted between the two literary characters: Hamlet and Oblomov, applying and utilizing Marxist literary theory and method. Instead of comparing the two literary characters setting one against another, it provides a method of broadening one’s perspective in the approach to the single works of literature. Therefore, Marxist literary theory and method of comparison may be used in literary study to indicate ‘affinity’, ‘tradition’ and ‘influence’. With a view of designating Marxist literary theory and method, the current research paper studies the two literary characters in conjunction of the two different historical epochs and social formations to which theses two literary types belong.

3. Comparison between Hamlet and Oblomov

William Shakespeare produced a literary type in the personality of Hamlet, which has become immortal and universal character in world literature. That is why Hamlet is one of the most discussed of William Shakespeare’s characters. The prince Hamlet grows up, confident in his privileged status in the royal court. He is well aware of his role in the given formation The story of “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” concerns a young man, Hamlet, son of the late King of Demark with a ghost of his dead father, who talks only to him and instructs him to commit a revenge of his murder. Hamlet nevertheless finds himself increasingly affected by the circumstances, in which he encounters the crisis of state, and though he gradually experiences the sudden death of his father and incestuous marriage of his mother with his uncle. Marcellus’s phrase in the opening act reveals that dark suspicions of rottenness in the state of Denmark as follows:

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (Shakespeare, William, 2005, Act 1, Scene IV, 67).

The reason of the rottenness of the feudal State of Denmark is not moral but decline of old feudalism and emergence of capitalism. This transitory historical epoch begins to break up the old feudal order and establish the capitalist institutions instead. Hamlet was written in this age of transition that called the Renaissance period, which was a transitory period from feudalism to capitalism in Europe. The age of William Shakespeare was the era of the Renaissance in England. It is the era of the radical upheaval in socio-economic ethos of social formation of Elizabethan age, when the decline of the old feudal order with its method of production, which was now being replaced by capitalist relations characteristic of the epoch of this primary accumulation. The new economic forces gave rise to a New England. The first upheaval in old feudal system affected the old feudal agricultural relations.

A rising capitalist economy made serfdom disappeared throughout England in the fifteenth century because it was more profitable to hire labour. The wool industry, export markets, and sheep-raising flourished tremendously everywhere in England, which, created a heightened demand for pastureland. As a result, the enclosure system aroused. The rich landlords made forcible seizure of the commons from the peasants possible in the close of the fifteenth and throughout the sixteenth century.

Moreover, with the growth of the wool industry much cultivated land belonging to the landlords was transformed into sheep-walks. The great mass of the peasantry found itself deprived of any land to cultivate. Therefore, a great supply of free agricultural labour was available, to work for a pittance to stave off hunger. This was a fundamental prerequisite for the development of capitalist industry.

The sale of confiscated church land by the state also satiated land hunger after the advent of the Reformation, about 1535. The bourgeoisie purchased Most of the land from the old feudal lords. Thus, the old landowners and the new bourgeoisie were united, since the former began to be bourgoisified nobility, applying new capitalist methods to agriculture. However, it carried over its old ideology into the new agricultural relations.

This situation formed the so-called gentry, composed principally of the middle and petty landed and serf-owning nobility, which, by fusing with the old landed nobility, replenished its ranks, which marked the beginning of that squirarchy which ruled England from the time of Queen Elizabeth to the middle of the nineteenth century. The new class of wealthy peasant farmers, the so-called yeomanry that was the backbone of old England, degenerated during the sixteenth century. This new landowners drawn from the bourgeoisie and the nobility dislodged it. Therefore, it was forced to accept the status of tenants.

The new joint-stock companies (including the paying troupes) were proto-capitalist and operated outside the regulatory systems of the guild structure. They depended on monopolies granted by the monarch in Britain. Catherine Belsey inadvertently gets closer to the nub of the matter when she observes, “...the selling monopoly was one of the means by which the Tudors and Stuarts sought to evade parliamentary control,” so that rather than a simple struggle between the old feudal ways embodied in a modified monarchy and the demands of the rising urban bourgeoisie. (Belsey, Catherine, 1985, p. 93)


[1] Parts of this paper have been previously published here: Javed Akhter, Shumaila Abdullah, Khair Muhammad. Hamlet and Oblomov: A Comparative Study. International Journal of Literature and Arts. Vol. 3, No. 5, 2015, pp. 108-119. doi: 10.11648/j.ijla.20150305.17 (

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