Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are nevertheless dead: the hypothetical adolescence of Prince Hamlet and the contested remorselessness of young offenders

Morss, John 2004, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are nevertheless dead: the hypothetical adolescence of Prince Hamlet and the contested remorselessness of young offenders, University of New England law journal, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 187-197.

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Title Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are nevertheless dead: the hypothetical adolescence of Prince Hamlet and the contested remorselessness of young offenders
Author(s) Morss, John
Journal name University of New England law journal
Volume number 1
Issue number 2
Start page 187
End page 197
Publisher University of New England
Place of publication Armidale, N.S.W.
Publication date 2004
ISSN 1449-2199
Summary A young man stabs a defenceless elderly man to death, and remarks “I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room.” Martha Grace Duncan has argued that such apparent remorselessness and other forensic features must be interpreted differently in children and young people as compared to adult defendants, because of developmental effects. Professor Duncan discusses a range of fictional as well as real examples in pressing her claim, and also appeals to psychiatric, psychological and psychoanalytic expertise. In order to examine the general validity of her argument, it is hypothesised here that a Duncanian adolescence defense has been presented for Prince Hamlet who, miraculously revived, now stands his trial for murder. It is argued that the “adolescence defense” is unsound in principle and that children and youth (whether or not as superannuated as the Prince of Denmark) should be treated in the same forensic manner as adults. If we respect children and youth, we must respect their autonomy however uncomfortable for us this may be: “So young, my lord, and true.”
Language eng
Field of Research 180199 Law not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2004, University of New England
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30002888

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Law
Higher Education Research Group
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