‘Eyes Without Feeling, Feeling Without Sight’: The Sense of Sight in Hamlet

  • Bríd PhillipsEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Shakespeare Studies book series (PASHST)


Can we believe what we see? The question is insistently and inconclusively raised in Hamlet through mention of the word ‘eye’ and imperative verbs such as ‘look’ and ‘see’. Theories of vision in early modern literature were driven by the work of Galen and mediated through the writings of thinkers such as Thomas Wright, Anthony Munday, and George Hakewill. In this chapter I examine the complex interplay between vision and emotion in Hamlet: a play in which the fallibility of vision is repeatedly connected to our inability to definitively read the emotions of others. I also consider the idea of emotional blindness and the gap between sight and emotional awareness in Hamlet.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of EmotionsThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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