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Military Masculinity and the Act of Killing in Hamlet and Afghanistan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
JournalMen and Masculinities
Early online date13 Jul 2017
E-pub ahead of print13 Jul 2017
Published13 Jul 2017


King's Authors


This article looks at a 2011 incident which led to a soldier (Marine A) being convicted of murdering an Afghan insurgent. It focuses on the words (quoting from Hamlet) spoken by the Marine as he carried out the killing: “shuffle off this mortal coil, you cunt” and examines the link that these words establish between the war in Afghanistan and Shakespeare’s play. The article explores the connections between Hamlet and Marine A and how their actions can be understood to both parallel each other and diverge around ethical contemplation; access to military masculinity; the banishing of the feminine; and a process of mediation, performance, and interpretation.

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