William Shakespeare 's ' Hamlet '

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Mirror to Society
Within the play Hamlet, William Shakespeare wrote what he thought to be the purpose of theatre. He defined theatre to be the actor’s ability to hold up a mirror to nature and portray what is actually happening within society. During the time of Shakespeare, the main aim in theatre was to create a night of entertainment, where society could escape from the issues of the day. However, Shakespeare’s message of reflection would take hold in the 19th-century as the primary purpose for theatre and evoke a modernization within theatre that insisted it be a reflection of reality. During the 1890s, two strategies developed in an effort to restore the Celtic heritage in Ireland, the Irish Literary Movement and the Neo- Gaelic revival. It is for this reason that an Irish Literary Renaissance began spreading through Ireland. This renaissance was influenced by an increase in the national interest for Gaelic legends and myths. The revival of the old Gaelic heritage served as inspiration to the growing political nationalism. At the close of the 19th century, Nationalist movements were spreading throughout most of Europe. In Ireland, the nationalist movement was calling for separation from British oppression. Ireland had been under English rule for over 300 years and saw itself ready for home-rule. Irish politics began to pressure its artists into displaying a civilized and respectable national image. However, the Irish people could not agree on an exact image.

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