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Abstract

As a contribution to the discussion of Shakespeare’s “appropriability” (Stanley Cavell), this paper examines some aspects of the cultural position of Hamlet on the Jacobean entertainment market, as they are indicated in Ben Jonson’s comedy Bartholomew Fair (1614). The metatheatrical features of Bartholomew Fair may be said to measure the play’s resistance against appropriating the unique and problematic aspects of Hamlet, such as the Ghost or The Mousetrap. These are deconstructed in Jonson’s comedy, which anticipates the Enlightenment views of the social functioning of theatre as a “moral institution”.

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and innocent aspect which could be easily paralleled to Miranda’s. Taken as a whole, La Tempesta. Pre-testi achieved its main purpose to re-read the play’s pervasive concern with theatricality, which was specifically investigated in conjunction with some stock situations of the Italian improvised comedy. In particular, it may be argued that this mise en scène functioned on two levels, which involved both metadramatic and intercultural references. The use of two “stages” heightened the metatheatrical framework of The Tempest itself, while concurrently