Traditional storytelling as descendant-leaving strategy: ancestral prescriptions for proper kinship and revenge in William Shakespeare's Hamlet
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] In light of the recent interest in evolutionary approaches to literature, I propose that storytelling shows evidence of design to manipulate the behavior of others. Specifically, traditional stories prescribing kinship behavior can be seen as part of the human descendant-leaving strategy, whereby ancestors, through the portrayal of the consequences of character behavior, were able to manipulate the behavior of their descendants in such a way that left descendants. I apply my theoretical argument for storytelling through a critical analysis of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. I present testable hypotheses concerning both traditional and modern influence of the design of the play in its aims to promote proper kinship and proper revenge in its audience in its demonstration of both the negative consequences of improper behavior and the positive consequences of proper behavior. I test these hypotheses against the evidence of the text, demonstrating that it is consistent with the aims I propose.
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