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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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‘But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue’

‘But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue’

Hamlet in Inner Emigration

7 ‘But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue’
No Hamlets

Andreas Höfele

Oxford University Press

Hamlet’s perilous situation at the court of Claudius, summed up in his sigh: ‘But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue’ (1.2), readily lent itself to analogies with the predicament of non-Nazi Germans under Hitler. The most famous Third Reich stage Hamlet, played by Gustaf Gründgens, has been interpreted as a coded response to this predicament. Chapter 7 examines Gründgens’s performance in this light and relates it to the post-war controversy over ‘inner emigration’, which renewed the association of Hamlet with Germany and her collective guilt. Thomas Mann and the philosopher Karl Jaspers cited Hamlet (and Fortinbras) in their appeals to the Germans to face up to their Nazi past, while a Shakespeare broadcast by the BBC German Service in June 1945 offered them a prospect of forgiveness.

Keywords:   inner emigration, German collective guilt, Hamlet, Gustaf Gründgens, Thomas Mann, exile, Karl Jaspers, re-education, BBC German Service

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