Thomas posted this as a comment to an earlier post, but since many people read this in ways where comments don’t show up, I’m reposting here, and have embedded the video below.
You can see Critchley’s lecture on Hamlet at the EGS this summer here. I had the pleasure of taking Critchley’s class on tragedy’s relationship to philosophy at the EGS. It’s really fascinating stuff. What really gets Critchley going is the question of moral ambiguity which keeps decision open. Philosophy tries to close this off and answer the question “what should I do” whereas tragedy keeps this question open. When confronted with a true ethical question we don’t know what to do. Certainly you can see this play out in all of Shakespeare’s tragedies, but what makes Hamlet stand out for Critchley’s purposes is the indecisiveness of Hamlet. Hamlet is too much of the philosopher, too much theory, too much trying to interpret the world, not enough action. Hamlet is a kind of miss-cast character, a philosopher who doesn’t want to reject the role of sovereign, an indecisive sovereign or a non-sovereign.