Language in the news: British Library blocks Hamlet

There’s currently a news story (here) about the British Library’s computers accidentally blocking access to Hamlet. While the initial reaction is “how ridiculous, the place you’d think would be the easiest to access it you can’t”, I think it does reinforce how much violence there actually is in Hamlet. Violence, mental health issues and suicide are all touched on in the play and in other contexts it may well seem acceptable to exclude such content from a safe search. Of course, then there’s the whole debate about whether there should be any restrictions at all on the content. Hamlet is one of my favourite books and plays but I think that watching actors play around with swords does distance you from the violence a bit, and in my own (slight idolisation) of Hamlet I almost forget how bloody it actually is.


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