To Do or Not to Do: Game Theory and Literature

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of Applied Linguistics, Shahrood University of Technology, Sharood, Iran

2 Department of Statistics, Faculty of Mathematical Sciences, Shahrood University of Technology, Shahrood, Iran



Game theory, a method of applied mathematics, has been used to study a wide range of topics. Literature is also a fertile ground for the application of Game theory. If one models literary texts as a series of decisions in which each character's decision or choice is dependent on the previous ones of others, it looks like a game, according to the formal game-theory definition. Thus irrational decisions or actions are rational in the context of a game. The current study aims to revisit Shakespeare's tragedies, Hamlet, Othello, and Antony and Cleopatra, in light of the game theory and model them in trees and matrices. These tragedies are nonzero-sum Games and there are no winners at the end. Moreover the characters' dominant strategies are associated with Nash Equilibrium.