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No HamletsGerman Shakespeare from Nietzsche to Carl Schmitt$
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Andreas Höfele

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718543

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718543.001.0001

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Welcome to the Machine. Berlin 1989

9 Epilogue
No Hamlets

Andreas Höfele

Oxford University Press

The Epilogue argues that the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 once more—and perhaps for the last time—gave credence to the identification linking Hamlet and Germany. This was evinced in Heiner Müller’s eight-hour production of Hamlet/Machine at Berlin’s Deutsches Theater in 1989/90. The intention is not, of course, to align Heiner Müller, the ‘heir of Brecht’, with the tradition of rightist cultural critique traced in the previous chapters. Müller’s historical pessimism is the reverse image of Schmitt’s: while Schmitt saw the West doomed to suffer the fate of Hamlet, Müller sees that fate as epitomizing the fall of the socialist East. In his production, it is Fortinbras, not Hamlet, who becomes the iconic representative of the West: a star warrior of global capitalism and the gravedigger of utopian hope.

Keywords:   Hamlet, Heiner Müller, Ulrich Mühe, GDR, fall of Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama, end of history, Jacques Derrida

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