⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Manipulation Of Jealousy In Shakespeares Othello

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The Manipulation Of Jealousy In Shakespeares Othello



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Beautiful Manipulation - Othello by William Shakespeare Review

Quattro son troppi? Anche nei suoi distici, Marziale continua a citare il codex: un anno prima del suddetto, una raccolta di distici viene pubblicata con lo scopo di accompagnare donativi. Questa mole composta da numerosi fogli contiene quindici libri poetici del Nasone». Dal II secolo a. Nel mondo antico non godette di molta fortuna a causa del prezzo elevato rispetto a quello del papiro.

Il libro in forma di rotolo consisteva in fogli preparati da fibre di papiro phylire disposte in uno strato orizzontale lo strato che poi riceveva la scrittura sovrapposto ad uno strato verticale la faccia opposta. La scrittura era effettuata su colonne, generalmente sul lato del papiro che presentava le fibre orizzontali. Non si hanno molte testimonianze sui rotoli di pergamena tuttavia la loro forma era simile a quella dei libri in papiro. Gli inchiostri neri utilizzati erano a base di nerofumo e gomma arabica.

Dal II secolo d. La vecchia forma libraria a rotolo scompare in ambito librario. In forma notevolmente differente permane invece in ambito archivistico. Questo mezzo, permettendo l'accelerazione della produzione delle copie di testi contribuisce alla diffusione del libro e della cultura. Altri suoi distici rivelano che tra i regali fatti da Marziale c'erano copie di Virgilio , di Cicerone e Livio. Le parole di Marziale danno la distinta impressione che tali edizioni fossero qualcosa di recentemente introdotto. Sono stati rinvenuti "taccuini" contenenti fino a dieci tavolette.

Nel tempo, furono anche disponibili modelli di lusso fatti con tavolette di avorio invece che di legno. Ai romani va il merito di aver compiuto questo passo essenziale, e devono averlo fatto alcuni decenni prima della fine del I secolo d. Il grande vantaggio che offrivano rispetto ai rolli era la capienza, vantaggio che sorgeva dal fatto che la facciata esterna del rotolo era lasciata in bianco, vuota.

Il codice invece aveva scritte entrambe le facciate di ogni pagina, come in un libro moderno. La prima pagina porta il volto del poeta. I codici di cui parlava erano fatti di pergamena ; nei distici che accompagnavano il regalo di una copia di Omero , per esempio, Marziale la descrive come fatta di "cuoio con molte pieghe". Ma copie erano anche fatte di fogli di papiro. Quando i greci ed i romani disponevano solo del rotolo per scrivere libri, si preferiva usare il papiro piuttosto che la pergamena. I ritrovamenti egiziani ci permettono di tracciare il graduale rimpiazzo del rotolo da parte del codice.

Fece la sua comparsa in Egitto non molto dopo il tempo di Marziale, nel II secolo d. Il suo debutto fu modesto. A tutt'oggi sono stati rinvenuti 1. Verso il d. I ritrovamenti egiziani gettano luce anche sulla transizione del codex dal papiro alla pergamena. Sebbene gli undici codici della Bibbia datati in quel secolo fossero papiracei, esistono circa 18 codici dello stesso secolo con scritti pagani e quattro di questi sono in pergamena. Non ne scegliemmo alcuno, ma ne raccogliemmo altri otto per i quali gli diedi dracme in conto. Il codex tanto apprezzato da Marziale aveva quindi fatto molta strada da Roma. Nel terzo secolo, quando tali codici divennero alquanto diffusi, quelli di pergamena iniziarono ad essere popolari.

In breve, anche in Egitto , la fonte mondiale del papiro , il codice di pergamena occupava una notevole quota di mercato. Sono tutti di pergamena, edizioni eleganti, scritti in elaborata calligrafia su sottili fogli di pergamena. Per tali edizioni di lusso il papiro era certamente inadatto. In almeno un'area, la giurisprudenza romana , il codex di pergamena veniva prodotto sia in edizioni economiche che in quelle di lusso. La caduta dell'Impero romano nel V secolo d. Il papiro divenne difficile da reperire a causa della mancanza di contatti con l' Antico Egitto e la pergamena , che per secoli era stata tenuta in secondo piano, divenne il materiale di scrittura principale.

I monasteri continuarono la tradizione scritturale latina dell' Impero romano d'Occidente. La tradizione e lo stile dell' Impero romano predominavano ancora, ma gradualmente emerse la cultura del libro medievale. I monaci irlandesi introdussero la spaziatura tra le parole nel VII secolo. L'innovazione fu poi adottata anche nei Paesi neolatini come l'Italia , anche se non divenne comune prima del XII secolo.

Si ritiene che l'inserimento di spazi tra le parole abbia favorito il passaggio dalla lettura semi-vocalizzata a quella silenziosa. Prima dell'invenzione e della diffusione del torchio tipografico , quasi tutti i libri venivano copiati a mano, il che li rendeva costosi e relativamente rari. I piccoli monasteri di solito possedevano al massimo qualche decina di libri, forse qualche centinaio quelli di medie dimensioni. Il processo della produzione di un libro era lungo e laborioso. Infine, il libro veniva rilegato dal rilegatore.

Esistono testi scritti in rosso o addirittura in oro, e diversi colori venivano utilizzati per le miniature. A volte la pergamena era tutta di colore viola e il testo vi era scritto in oro o argento per esempio, il Codex Argenteus. Per tutto l'Alto Medioevo i libri furono copiati prevalentemente nei monasteri, uno alla volta. Il sistema venne gestito da corporazioni laiche di cartolai , che produssero sia materiale religioso che profano. Questi libri furono chiamati libri catenati. Vedi illustrazione a margine. L' ebraismo ha mantenuto in vita l'arte dello scriba fino ad oggi. Anche gli arabi produssero e rilegarono libri durante il periodo medievale islamico , sviluppando tecniche avanzate di calligrafia araba , miniatura e legatoria.

Col metodo di controllo, solo "gli autori potevano autorizzare le copie, e questo veniva fatto in riunioni pubbliche, in cui il copista leggeva il testo ad alta voce in presenza dell'autore, il quale poi la certificava come precisa". In xilografia , un'immagine a bassorilievo di una pagina intera veniva intagliata su tavolette di legno, inchiostrata e usata per stampare le copie di quella pagina. Questo metodo ebbe origine in Cina , durante la Dinastia Han prima del a.

I monaci o altri che le scrivevano, venivano pagati profumatamente. I primi libri stampati, i singoli fogli e le immagini che furono creati prima del in Europa, sono noti come incunaboli. Folio 14 recto del Vergilius romanus che contiene un ritratto dell'autore Virgilio. Da notare la libreria capsa , il leggio ed il testo scritto senza spazi in capitale rustica. Leggio con libri catenati , Biblioteca Malatestiana di Cesena. Incunabolo del XV secolo. Si noti la copertina lavorata, le borchie d'angolo e i morsetti.

Insegnamenti scelti di saggi buddisti , il primo libro stampato con caratteri metallici mobili, Le macchine da stampa a vapore diventarono popolari nel XIX secolo. Queste macchine potevano stampare 1. Le macchine tipografiche monotipo e linotipo furono introdotte verso la fine del XIX secolo. Hart , la prima biblioteca di versioni elettroniche liberamente riproducibili di libri stampati. I libri a stampa sono prodotti stampando ciascuna imposizione tipografica su un foglio di carta. Le varie segnature vengono rilegate per ottenere il volume. L'apertura delle pagine, specialmente nelle edizioni in brossura , era di solito lasciata al lettore fino agli anni sessanta del XX secolo , mentre ora le segnature vengono rifilate direttamente dalla tipografia.

Nei libri antichi il formato dipende dal numero di piegature che il foglio subisce e, quindi, dal numero di carte e pagine stampate sul foglio. Le "carte di guardia", o risguardi, o sguardie, sono le carte di apertura e chiusura del libro vero e proprio, che collegano materialmente il corpo del libro alla coperta o legatura. Non facendo parte delle segnature , non sono mai contati come pagine. Si chiama "controguardia" la carta che viene incollata su ciascun "contropiatto" la parte interna del "piatto" della coperta, permettendone il definitivo ancoraggio. Le sguardie sono solitamente di carta diversa da quella dell'interno del volume e possono essere bianche, colorate o decorate con motivi di fantasia nei libri antichi erano marmorizzate.

Il colophon o colofone, che chiude il volume, riporta le informazioni essenziali sullo stampatore e sul luogo e la data di stampa. In origine nei manoscritti era costituito dalla firma o subscriptio del copista o dello scriba, e riportava data, luogo e autore del testo; in seguito fu la formula conclusiva dei libri stampati nel XV e XVI secolo, che conteneva, talvolta in inchiostro rosso, il nome dello stampatore, luogo e data di stampa e l' insegna dell'editore. Sopravvive ancor oggi, soprattutto con la dicitura Finito di stampare. Nel libro antico poteva essere rivestita di svariati materiali: pergamena, cuoio, tela, carta e costituita in legno o cartone. Poteva essere decorata con impressioni a secco o dorature.

Ciascuno dei due cartoni che costituiscono la copertina viene chiamato piatto. Nel XIX secolo la coperta acquista una prevalente funzione promozionale. Ha caratterizzato a lungo l'editoria per l'infanzia e oggi, ricoperto da una "sovraccoperta", costituisce il tratto caratteristico delle edizioni maggiori. Le "alette" o "bandelle" comunemente dette "risvolti di copertina" sono le piegature interne della copertina o della sovraccoperta vedi infra. Generalmente vengono utilizzate per una succinta introduzione al testo e per notizie biografiche essenziali sull'autore. Di norma, riporta le indicazioni di titolo e autore. I libri con copertina cartonata in genere sono rivestiti da una "sovraccoperta".

Oltre al taglio "superiore" o di "testa" vi sono il taglio esterno, detto "davanti" o "concavo" , e il taglio inferiore, detto "piede". I tagli possono essere al naturale, decorati o colorati in vario modo. Though the uprising is finally put down, it provides the excuse for Richard, duke of York, and his ambitious sons to seize power. These murders introduce the theme of familial destruction, of fathers killing sons and sons killing fathers, which culminates in the brutal assassination of Prince Edward. In order to present Richard as an arch-villain, Shakespeare was obliged to follow a description of him that was based on a strongly prejudiced biographical portrait written by Sir ThomasMore. More painted Richard as a hunchback with fangs, a beast so cruel that he did not flinch at the prospect of murdering the young princes.

To More—and to Shakespeare—Richard must be viewed as another Herod; the imagery of the play also regularly compares him to a boar or hedgehog, beasts that know no restraint. Despite these repulsive features, Richard proves to be a consummate actor, outwitting and outperforming those whom he regards as victims. The most theatrical scene in the play is his wooing of the Lady Anne, who is drawn to him despite the knowledge that he has killed her husband Prince Edward and fatherin- law, whose corpse she is in the process of accompanying to its grave.

Steeplechase imagery recurs throughout, culminating in the picture of Richard as an unseated rider trying desperately to find a mount. He arranges for the murder of his brother Clarence, turns on former supporters such as Hastings and Buckingham, whom he seemed to be grooming for office, and eventually destroys the innocent princes standing in his path. While Richard moves with freedom and abandon from one bloody deed to another, he is hounded by the former Queen Margaret, who delivers curses and prophecies against him in the hope of satisfying her vengeful desires.

She plays the role of a Senecan fury, even though her words prove feeble against her Machiavellian foe. Retribution finally comes, however, in the character of the Lancastrian Earl of Richmond, who defeats Richard at Bosworth Field. Unable to respond by confessing and asking forgiveness, Richard fights fiercely, dying like a wounded animal that is finally cornered. Whether Shakespeare wrote King John in the period between the first and second tetralogies is not known, but there is considerable support for the theory that he did.

In the play, he depicts the career of a monarch who reigned into the thirteenth century and who defied papal authority, behavior that made him into something of a Protestant hero for Elizabethans. This clouded picture complicates the action and transforms John into a man plagued by guilt. Despite his desire to strengthen England and challenge the supremacy of Rome, John does not achieve either the dimensions of a tragic hero or the sinister quality of a consummate villain; indeed, his death seems anticlimactic. Faulconbridge speaks out for Anglo-Saxon pride in the face of foreign challenge, but he has also played the part of satirist-onstage throughout much of the action.

Something of the same complexity of character will be seen in Prince Hal, the model fighter and king of the second tetralogy. In King John, Shakespeare managed only this one touch of brilliant characterization in an otherwise uninteresting and poorly constructed play. He may have been attempting an adaptation of an earlier chronicle drama. Shakespeare began writing the second tetralogy, which covers the historical period from to , in The first play in this group was Richard II , a drama which, like the Henry VI series, recounts the follies of a weak king and the consequences of these actions for England. Unlike Henry, however, Richard is a personage with tragic potential; he speaks the language of a poet and possesses a self-dramatizing talent.

Richard invites his fall—the fall of princes, or de casibus virorum illustrium , being a favorite Elizabethan topic that was well represented in the popular A Mirror for Magistrates first published under Elizabeth I in , although printed earlier under Queen Mary —by seizing the land of the deceased John of Gaunt to pay for his war preparations against Ireland. Such a reading must overlook the self-pitying quality in Richard; his actions rarely correspond to the quality of his speech. Richard II likewise qualifies as the first play in which Shakespeare realizes the theme of the fall by means of repeated images comparing England to a garden. Richard, the gardener-king, has failed to attend to pruning; rebels, like choking weeds, grow tall and threaten to blot out the sun.

Bolingbroke, now King Henry IV, is planning a crusade in the midst of a serious battle involving rebels in the north and west of Britain. It will take the courage and ingenuity of his son, Prince Hal, the future Henry V, to save England and to restore the order of succession that Shakespeare and his contemporaries saw as the only guarantee of peaceful rule. Thus, Henry IV, Part I is really a study of the rise of Hal, who in the opening of the play appears to be a carefree time waster, content with drinking, gambling, and carousing with a motley group of thieves and braggarts led by the infamous coward Sir John Falstaff.

Using a kind of Aristotelian mode of characterization, Shakespeare reveals Hal as a balanced hero who possesses the wit and humanity of Falstaff, without the debilitating drunkenness and ego, and the physical courage and ambition of Henry Hotspur, the son of the earl of Northumberland and chief rebel, without his destructive choler and impatience. The plot of Henry IV, Part I advances by means of comparison and contrast of the court, tavern, and rebel worlds, all of which are shown to be in states of disorder.

Northumberland, who failed to appear for the Battle of Shrewsbury because of illness, proves unable to call up the spirit of courage demonstrated by his dead son. Glendower, too, seems to fade quickly from the picture, like a dying patient. Falstaff is again the humorous but negative example, although he lacks the robustness in sin that marked his character in Part I. The positive example or model is the Lord Chief Justice, whose sobriety and sense of responsibility eventually attract Hal to his side. The banishment of Falstaff and his corrupt code takes place during the coronation procession. With the Lord Chief Justice at his side, Hal prepares to enter the almost monklike role that the kingship requires him to play. It is this strong and isolated figure that dominates Henry V , the play that may have been written for the opening of the Globe Theatre.

Hal shows himself to be an astute politician—he outwits and traps the rebels Scroop, Cambridge, and Grey—and a heroic leader of men in the battle scenes. There is little or no humor in the play. Yet when Hal moves among his troops on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt, he reveals a depth of understanding and compassion that helps to humanize his character. His speeches are masterpieces of political rhetoric, even though Pistol, the braggart soldier, tries to parody them. With the defeat of the French at Agincourt, Hal wins an empire for England, strengthening the kingdom that had been so sorely threatened by the weakness of Richard II.

Both tetralogies depict in sharp outline the pattern of suffering and destruction that results from ineffective leadership. In Henry VII and Henry V, one sees the promise of peace and empire realized through the force of their strong, patriotic identities. The lesson for the audience seems to be that under Elizabeth, the last Tudor monarch, England has achieved stability and glory, and that this role of European power was foreshadowed by the victories of these earlier heroes.

Another clear lesson is that England cannot afford another civil war; some capable and clearly designated successor to Elizabeth must be chosen. The play traces the falls of three famous personages, the duke of Buckingham, Katherine of Aragon, and Cardinal Wolsey. Both Buckingham and Queen Katherine are innocent victims of fortune, while Wolsey proves to be an ambitious man whose scheming is justly punished. Henry seems blind and self-satisfied through much of the play, which is dominated by pageantry and spectacle, but in his judgment against Wolsey and his salvation of Cranmer, he emerges as something of a force for divine justice. Of the plays that are wholly or partly attributed to Shakespeare, nearly half have been classified as comedies. There can be little doubt that Shakespeare enjoyed creating comic situations and characters and that audiences came to expect such fare on a regular basis from the playwright.

The twin brothers are attended by twin servants, compounding the possibilities for humor growing out of mistaken identity. Considerable buffoonery and slapstick characterize the main action involving the twins—both named Antipholus—and their servants. In one hilarious scene, Antipholus of Ephesus is turned away from his own house by a wife who believes he is an impostor. Egeon believes that his wife and sons are dead, which casts him deep into the pit of despair.

This happy scene of reunion and regeneration strikes a note that will come to typify the resolutions of later Shakespearean comedy. Providence appears to smile on those who suffer yet remain true to the principle of family. Shakespeare also unites the act of unmasking with the concept of winning a new life in the fifth act of The Comedy of Errors. The characters are, however, largely interchangeable and lacking in individualizing traits. Types rather than fullblown human beings people the world of the play, thus underscoring the theme of supposing or masking. Shakespeare offers a gallery of familiar figures—young lovers, a pedantic doctor, a kitchen maid, merchants, and a courtesan—all of whom are identified by external traits.

They are comic because they behave in predictably mechanical ways. He had already used this collection for his erotic poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece ; now he plundered it for stories about pairs of lovers and the changes effected in their natures by the power of love. In The Taming of the Shrew, he was also improving on an earlier play that dealt with the theme of taming as a means of modifying human behavior. By the end of the play, she has been tamed into behaving like a dutiful wife. Her sister Bianca, on the other hand, has many suitors, but her father will not allow Bianca to marry until Kate has found a husband. The process of taming sometimes involves rough and boisterous treatment—Petruchio withholds food from his pupil, for example—as well as feigned madness: Petruchio whisks his bride away from the wedding site as if she were a damsel in distress and he were playing the role of her rescuer.

In the end, Kate turns out to be more pliant than her sister, suggesting that an ideal wife, like a bird trained for the hunt, must be instructed in the rules of the game. Shakespeare reinforces the theme of transformation by fashioning a subplot featuring a drunken tinker named Christopher Sly, who believes he has been made into a lord during a ruse performed by a fun-loving noble and his fellows. The Two Gentlemen of Verona takes a comic tack that depends less on supposing than on actual disguise. The main theme of the comedy is the rocky nature of love as revealed in male friendship and romantic contest.

Although Proteus deserves worse punishment than he receives, he is allowed to find in Julia the true source of the romantic love that he has been seeking throughout the play. These pairs of lovers and their clownish servants, who engage in frequent bouts of punning and of horseplay, perform their rituals—anatomizing lovers, trusting false companions—in a forest world that seems to work its magic on them by bringing about a happy ending. As in the other festive comedies, The Two Gentlemen of Verona concludes with multiple marriages and a mood of inclusiveness that gives even the clowns their proper place in the celebration. After this experiment in romantic or festive as opposed to bourgeois comedy, Shakespeare next turned his hand to themes and characters that reflect the madness and magic of love.

There is also a satiric strain in this play, which depicts the foiled attempt of male characters to create a Platonic utopia free of women. The King of Navarre and his court appear ludicrous as, one by one, they violate their vows of abstinence in conceits that gush with sentiment. Even Berowne, the skeptic-onstage, proves unable to resist the temptations of Cupid. As if to underscore the foolishness of their betters, the clowns and fops of this comic world produce an interlude featuring the NineWorthies, all of whom overdo or distort their roles in the same way as the lover-courtiers have distorted theirs.

When every Jack presumes to claim his Jill at the close, however, Shakespeare deputizes the princess to postpone the weddings for one year while the men do penance for breaking their vows. The women here are victorious over the men, but only for the purpose of forcing them to recognize the seriousness of their contracts. Presumably the marriages to come will prove constant and fulfilling, but at the end of this otherwise lighthearted piece, Shakespeare interjects a surprising note of qualification. Perhaps this note represents his commentary on the weight of words, which the courtiers have so carelessly— and sometimes badly—handled.

Although he again presents pairs of young lovers whose fickleness causes them to fall out of, and then back into, love, these characters display human dimensions that are missing in the character types found in the earlier comedies. The main action, as in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, takes place in a wood, this time outside Athens and at night. The fairy powers are given free rein to deceive the mortals who chase one another there. By the end of the play, however, the young lovers have found their proper partners, Oberon and Titania have patched up their quarrel, and Bottom, whose head was changed into that of an ass and who was wooed by the enchanted Titania while he was under this spell, rejoins his fellows to perform their tragic and comic interlude at the wedding reception.

This afterpiece is a burlesque rendition of the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, whose tale of misfortune bears a striking resemblance to that of Romeo and Juliet. His scheme is frustrated only by the superior wit of the heroine Portia during a trial scene in which she is disguised as a young boy judge. Though the settings are contrasted and the action of the play alternates between the two societies, Shakespeare makes his audience realize that Portia, like Antonio, is bound to a contract set by her dead father which threatens to destroy her happiness. When Bassanio chooses the leaden casket, she is freed to marry the man whom she would have chosen for her own. Much Ado About Nothing likewise has a dark side. The main plot represents the love of Claudio and Hero.

Claudio confronts his supposedly unfaithful partner in the middle of their wedding ceremony, his tirade causing her to faint and apparently expire. The lovers are later reunited, however, after Claudio recognizes his error. Like Claudio and Hero, they are converted into lovers who overcome selfishness and pride to gain a degree of freedom in their new relationships. The comedy ends with the marriage of Claudio and Hero and the promise of union between Beatrice and Benedick. His behavior, especially his hilariously inept handling of legal language, is funny in itself, but it also illustrates a favorite Shakespearean theme: Clownish errors often lead to happy consequences.

His daughter Rosalind enters the forest world in disguise, along with her friend Celia, to woo and win the young hero Orlando, forced to wander by his brother Oliver, another usurping figure. She proves successful in winning the support of the audience by means of her clever manipulation of Orlando from behind her mask. Two characters—Touchstone, the clown, and Jacques pronounced JAYK weez , the cynical courtier—represent extreme attitudes on the subjects of love and human nature. He remains outside the circle of happy couples at the end of the play, a poignant, melancholy figure. Twelfth Night also deals with the themes of love and self-knowledge. Motifs from other earlier Shakespearean comedies are also evident in Twelfth Night.

Viola and Sebastian are twins a motif found in The Comedy of Errors who have been separated in a shipwreck but, unknown to each other, have landed in the same country, Illyria. Complications arise when Olivia falls in love with Viola, and the dilemma is brought to a head when Orsino threatens to kill his page in a fit of revenge. Sebastian provides the ready solution to this dilemma, but Shakespeare holds off introducing the twins to each other until the last possible moment, creating effective comic tension. The scene in which Malvolio finds the letter and responds to its hints, while being observed not only by the theater audience but also by an audience onstage, is one of the funniest stretches of comic pantomime in drama.

When Malvolio attempts to woo his mistress, he is thought mad and is cast in prison. Although he is finally released not before being tormented by Feste the clown in disguise , Malvolio does not join the circle of lovers in the close, vowing instead to be revenged on all those who deceived him. In fact, both Feste and Malvolio stand apart from the happy company, representing the dark, somewhat melancholy clouds that cannot be dispelled in actual human experience. By this stage in his career, Shakespeare had acquired a vision of comedy crowded by elements and characters that would be fully developed in the tragedies.

Legend suggests that he interrupted his work on the second history cycle to compose the play in two weeks for Queen Elizabeth, who wished to see Falstaff by then familiar from the history plays portrayed as a lover. What Shakespeare ended up writing was not a romantic but instead a bourgeois comedy that depicts Falstaff attempting to seduce Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, both wives of Windsor citizens. He fails, but in failing he manages to entertain the audience with his bragging and his boldness.

This is the only strain of romance in the comedy, whose major event is the punishment of Falstaff: He is tossed into the river, then singed with candles and pinched by citizens disguised as fairies. Regardless of whether this act has a ritual purpose, the character of Falstaff, and the characters of Bardolph, Pistol, and Justice Shallow, bear little resemblance to the comic band of Henry IV, Part I. In fact, T he Merry Wives of Windsor might be legitimately seen as an interlude rather than a fully developed comedy, and it is a long distance from the more serious, probing dramas Shakespeare would soon create.

The play differs from the earlier romantic comedies, however, because the hero rejects the heroine, preferring instead to win honor and fame in battle. When Bertram finally assents to the union he bears little resemblance to comic heroes such as Orlando or Sebastian; he could be seen in fact as more a villain or perhaps a cad than a deserving lover. Measure for Measure has at the center of its plot another bed trick, by which a patient and determined woman Mariana manages to capture the man she desires.

That man, Angelo, is put in the position of deputy by Duke Vincentio at the opening of the action. He determines to punish a sinful Vienna by strictly enforcing its laws against fornication; his first act is to arrest Claudio for impregnating his betrothed Juliet. He asks for a measure of her body in return for a measure of mercy for her brother. Thus, Angelo commits the deed that he would punish Claudio for performing. Through another substitution, however, Claudio is saved. Some critics have argued that this interpretation transforms Duke Vincentio into a Christ figure, curing the sins of the people while disguised as one of them.

Whether or not this interpretation is valid, Measure for Measure compels its audience to explore serious questions concerning moral conduct; practically no touches of humor in the play are untainted by satire and irony. For about four years following the writing of Measure for Measure , Shakespeare was busy producing his major tragedies. It is probably accurate to say that the problem comedies were, to a degree, testing grounds for the situations and characters he would perfect in the tragedies. His earliest—and clumsiest—attempt at tragedy was Titus Andronicus.

From Seneca, the Roman playwright whose ten plays had been translated into English in , Shakespeare took the theme of revenge: The inflexible, honor-bound hero seeks satisfaction against a queen who has murdered or maimed his children. She was acting in retaliation, however, because Titus had killed her son. He and the wicked queen Tamora are oversimplified characters who declaim set speeches rather than engaging in realistic dialogue. He never comes to terms with the destructive code of honor that convulses his personal life and that of Rome. With Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare reached a level of success in characterization and design far above the bombastic and chaotic world of Titus Andronicus.

Some critics have in fact faulted the tragedy because its plot lacks the integrity of its poetry; Romeo and Juliet come to their fates by a series of accidents and coincidences that strain credulity. The tireless Friar Lawrence attempts, through the use of a potion, to save Juliet from marrying Paris, the nobleman to whom she is betrothed, but the friar proves powerless against the force of fate that seems to be working against the lovers. Although it lacks the compelling power of the mature tragedies, whose heroes are clearly responsible for their fate, Romeo and Juliet remains a popular play on the subject of youthful love.

At least three years passed before Shakespeare again turned his attention to the tragic form. Instead of treating the subject of fatal love, however, he explored Roman history for a political story centering on the tragic dilemma of one man. That is, he might have presented the issue of the republic versus the monarchy as a purely political question, portraying Caesar, Brutus, Cassius, and Antony as pawns in a predestined game. Instead, Shakespeare chose to explore the character of Brutus in detail, revealing the workings of his conscience through moving and incisive soliloquies.

By depicting his hero as a man who believes his terrible act is in the best interest of the country, Shakespeare establishes the precedent for later tragic heroes who likewise justify their destructive deeds as having righteous purposes. The tragic plot is developed by means of irony and contrast. Caesar appears to be a superstitious, somewhat petty figure, but in typical fashion, Shakespeare makes his audience see that, just as the conspirators are not free of personal motives such as jealousy, so Caesar is not the cold and uncompromising tyrant they claim he is. Brutus and Cassius quarrel before the end, but they nevertheless achieve a kind of nobility by committing suicide in the Roman tradition. For Brutus, the events following the assassination demonstrate the flaw in his idealism; he could not destroy the spirit of Caesar, nor could he build a republic on the shifting sand of the populace.

In Julius Caesar , one witnesses a tragedy that is both politically compelling and morally complex. Although the revenge theme is an important part of Julius Caesar , it dominates the action of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. As a result, Hamlet delays his revenge—a delay that has preoccupied audiences, readers, and critics for centuries. These explanations, while appealing, tend to shift attention away from other, equally significant elements in the play. When Hamlet finally acts, however, he does so in the role of an avenger and scourge.

He murders Claudius after the king has arranged for Laertes to slay him in a duel and after the queen has fallen dead from a poisoned drink intended for Hamlet. Though Fortinbras stands as a heroic figure, one cannot help but observe the irony of a situation in which the son, without a struggle, inherits what his father was denied. In Troilus and Cressida , one encounters another kind of irony: satire. This strange play, which may have been composed for a select audience, possibly of lawyers, was placed between the histories and tragedies in the First Folio. The dual plot concerns the political machinations among the Greeks during their siege of Troy and the tortured love affair between Troilus and the unfaithful Cressida.

Much of the political action consists of debates: Hector argues eloquently that Helen should be sent back to Menelaus; Ulysses produces many pithy arguments urging the reluctant Achilles to fight. Many of these scenes, moreover, end in anticlimax, and action is often frustrated. Throughout, Thersites, the satirist-onstage, bitterly attacks the warring and lecherous instincts of men; even the love affair between Troilus and Cressida seems tainted by the general atmosphere of disillusion. Although the two lovers share genuine affection for each other, one cannot ignore the truth that they are brought together by Pandarus and that their passion has a distinctly physical quality. Although probably written after the other major tragedies, Timon of Athens shares a number of similarities with Troilus and Cressida.

Here again is an ironic vision of humanity, this time in a social rather than martial setting. That vision is expanded by the trenchant comments, usually in the form of references to sexual disease, of Apemantus, another cynical choric commentator. Timon appears to be a tragic rather than misanthropic figure only if one sees him as the victim of his idealistic reading of humankind. When those on whom he has lavishly bestowed gifts and money consistently refuse to return the favor, Timon then becomes a bitter cynic and outspoken satirist.

One cannot say that the hero acquires a larger view of humanity or of himself as the result of his experience; he simply seems to swing from one extreme view to its opposite. An experiment that clearly succeeded is Othello, the Moor of Venice , an intense and powerful domestic tragedy. Based on an Italian tale by Giambattista Giraldi Cinthio, the story concerns a Moor, a black man who is made to believe by a treacherous, vengeful ensign that his new Venetian bride has cuckolded him with one of his lieutenants, Cassio.

In a rage, theMoor suffocates his bride, only to discover too late that his jealousy was unfounded. Rather than face the torture of a trial and his own conscience, he commits suicide as he bitterly accuses himself of blindness. He also creates a world with two distinct symbolic settings: Venice and Cyprus. In Venice, Othello shows himself to be a cool, rational captain, deserving of the respect he receives from the senators who send him to Cyprus to defend it from the Turks. Although some critics have ridiculed Shakespeare for depending so heavily on one prop to resolve the plot, they fail to note the degree of psychological insight Shakespeare has displayed in using it.

It may be especially important to perceive Iago as another Satan, since commentators have suspected the sufficiency of his motive he says he wants revenge because Othello passed over him in appointing Cassio as his lieutenant. Such a reading tends to simplify what is in fact a thoroughgoing study of the emotions that both elevate and destroy humankind. When the play opens, he is in the process of retiring from the kingship by dividing his kingdom into three parts, basing his assignment of land on the degree of affection mouthed by each of the three daughters to whom he plans to assign a part.

Cordelia, his youngest and favorite, refuses to enter into this hollow ceremony, and Lear responds by suddenly and violently banishing her. Left in the hands of his evil and ambitious daughters Goneril and Regan, Lear quickly discovers that they plan to pare away any remaining symbols of his power and bring him entirely under their rule. This theme of children controlling, even destroying, their parents is echoed in a fully developed subplot involving old Gloucester and his two sons, Edmund and Edgar.

With Cordelia and Edgar cast out—the former to live in France, the latter in disguise as Poor Tom—Lear and Gloucester suffer the punishing consequences of their sins. Gloucester, who is also lacking insight into the true natures of his sons, is cruelly blinded by Regan and her husband and cast out from his own house to journey to Dover. On the way, he is joined by his disguised son, who helps Gloucester undergo a regeneration of faith before he expires. Cordelia performs a similar task for Lear, whose recovery can be only partial, because of his madness.

After Cordelia is captured and killed by the forces of Edmund, whose brother conquers him in single combat, Lear, too, expires while holding the dead Cordelia in his arms. This wrenching ending, with its nihilistic overtones, is only one of the elements that places this play among the richest and most complex tragedies in English. More than any other Shakespearean tragedy, King Lear also succeeds in dramatizing the relationship between the microcosm, or little world of humankind, and the macrocosm, or larger world.

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