Ideas of Depression (melon collie) in the 15-1600'sgreenspun.com : LUSENET : History & Theory of Psychology : One Thread
I am a senior in high school and am in the process of writing a term paper for my English class about Shakespeare's Hamlet, and how depression, or melon collie, as it was called back then may have played an important role in the tragic events involving Hamlet and Ophelia, and how if they had been treated for clinical depression these events may not have happened........but on to my question:
I was wondering what people of Shakespeare's time thought of people who were affected by "melon collie", and what they thought was a cause of it? Are there any good books or publications that have this info? I need it!! Thanks.
-- Goodloe Harman (email@example.com), November 13, 2001
Of course, the events portrayed in Hamlet never happened -- it's a fiction -- so I wouldn't spend too much tme worrying about what might have happened if Hamlet had gotten electro-convulsive therapy or lithium. The "madness" is a literary device of Shakespeare's in order to explore a certain aspect of the human condition, not an actual pathology of a real person. Indeed, Hamlet's "madness" may have been a deception on the part of Hamlet himself in order to "bring out" his enemies.
That notwithstanding, however, you might have a look at:
Babb, Lawrence. The Elizabethan malady: a study of melancholia in English literature from 1580 to 1642. East Lansing: Michigan State Univeristy Press, 1965.
Jackson, Stanley W. Melancholia and depression: from Hippocratic times to the modern times. New Haven : Yale University Press, 1986.
Better still, if you can find a copy, is the classic _Anatomy of Melacholy_ by Robert Burton (1577-1640).
-- Christopher Green (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 2001.
I don't know how expanding your area of discussion to include the full works of Shakespeare would benefit your paper, but it may influence your thinking to read other works, such as Macbeth. I feel that Shakespeare is the most inspiring in the way he portrays, what we would now call, mental illness and how even then it was recognised in literature...just took scientists a little longer!!!!
-- Miss Rebecca Lee (email@example.com), December 30, 2001.