Hamlet, Art, and Apoptosis: The Shakespearean Artwork of Julie Newdoll

2015 Interdisciplinary Literary Studies  
Contemporary artist Julie Newdoll's painted series "Shakespeare: The Mirror up to Science" explores the connection between Shakespeare's Hamlet, suicide, and science. Using the thesis supported by the work of Burton R. Pollin that Hamlet's revenge is fueled by his desire to commit suicide, Newdoll shows how the biological process of apoptosis-that is, programmed cell death-can be used as a metaphor for Hamlet's suicide narrative through her paintings. keywords: Hamlet, suicide, science, art,
more » ... e, science, art, Shakespeare Works like Hamlet, which have been shown over centuries to have enough coherence and mystery to touch off major transformations in Western culture, are both challenges and standing invitations. -kerrigan, xii Just over thirty-five minutes into the RSC's 2009 film version of Hamlet, the melancholy prince (David Tennant) looks into the camera with wildeyed determination and swears to remember his murdered father. Hamlet pulls out a switch blade and flicks it open, saying, "Now to my word: / It is ' Adieu, adieu! Remember me. ' " Hamlet stares at his left hand before finishing the speech with "I have sworn it, " then grasps the blade in his fist and deliberately slides the knife through his palm, mutilating and handicapping himself as he begins the journey to avenge his father's murder. The effect is startling, both to the viewer and to Hamlet himself. He crumples to the ILS 17.4_04_Eppich_Harris.indd 540 23/09/15 7:40 PM shakespearean artwork of julie newdoll ILS 17.4_04_Eppich_Harris.indd 541 23/09/15 7:40 PM ILS 17.4_04_Eppich_Harris.indd 542 23/09/15 7:40 PM ILS 17.4_04_Eppich_Harris.indd 551 23/09/15 7:40 PM
doi:10.5325/intelitestud.17.4.0540 fatcat:t447gx2lwretjldg3ufiehfnuq