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Ancient Myths in the Making of Culture

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Malgorzata Budzowska and Jadwiga Czerwinska

The reception of Mediterranean Antiquity heritage is one of the dominant research areas in contemporary classical studies. This issue has constituted the scope of the conference Reception of Ancient Myths in Ancient, Modern and Postmodern Culture, which took place at the University of Łódź (Poland) in November 2013. The volume consists of the selected articles based on the conference papers. They are divided into the main chapters: Literature, Visual and Performing Arts and Philosophy as well as Anthropology. The authors consider different methods of reception of ancient myths focusing on various cultural phenomena: literature, fine arts, theatre, cinema and pop culture.
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Telemach(us) – Telmah – Hamlet. The Myth of Telemachy in the Hamlet by William Shakespeare

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Both Odyssey and Hamlet are one of the most known works in the European culture and are often included on lists of the world’s greatest literature. The speech is an attempt to present the issue of the myth of Telemachy, mainly presented in first four books of Odyssey attributed to Homer, and its transposition in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Both main characters (Telemachus / Hamlet) of these texts are young princes that have lost their fathers (Odysseus / old Hamlet). They both have to eliminate the enemy that wants to take place of the king (the suitors / king Claudius). Farther Telemachus story as well as Hamlet’s can be generally recognized as the story describing the journey from boyhood to manhood. Similarities that can be found between Telemachy and Hamlet show that Odysseus’ son story can be one of the literary source of the Shakespearian play. By comparing two conceptualizations of construction of the literary character it is possible to emphasize, on one hand, the similarity between Greek epic poem and Elizabethan tragedy and on the other hand, differences between ancient and English Renaissance culture and philosophy.

Upon careful reading of Hamlet by William Shakespeare and The Odyssey by Homer, and to be more precise, the part depicting the story of Telemachus often called the Telemachy2, we come across numerous analogical events and motifs. The analogies are so frequent and distinctive that it is difficult not to get the impression that the ancient epic poem was a...

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