Unit 9 William Shakespeare: comedies, historical plays, tragedies The Metaphysical Poets l. Types of plays with Shakespeare A. Comedies: they start with a conflict (agony) in a world/space perceived as imperfect, the comic brings about chaos that has a potential tragic quality which Is sorted out with a marriage ( a return to harmony and togetherness) that suggests the beginning of a better world. Types of humor/comic: language, situation, character, manner, gags The mechanism of laughter Miss;en- abeam (abeam) Examples: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, The Comedy of
Errors Problem/Dark comedies: Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing The theme of love: Love covers three stages (Plato) ((A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, As You Liker It): 1st stage: blind love, love at 1st sight: this sort of love brings confusion, the senses are not to be trusted 2nd stage: a stage where confusion reaches a climax of intensity which triggers a crisis of identity: the lovers are no longer aware of their Identity, whom to trust, where the truth is. The conventional Identity of the characters s broken by the interval of the test.
The characters are faced with an inner storm, they realism they do not know who they really are anymore. The forest= a labyrinth space in which they get emotionally, mentally and physically lost 3rd stage: the rebirth of identity: the obstacle/test lovers are put in represents a metaphorical death: they change for the better; they become aware: that the human individual Is potentially Infinite. Universal that love Is an Instrument by the help of which one gets in touch with perfection that love is a sort of an epiphany (a sudden illumination of truth), a revelation of the beauty of the world and of the immortality of the ephemeral.
Love shows us what Is permanent In a world of change The lovers’ marriage in comedies equals the crowning of the ideal king: characters become aware of an invisible richness, a permanent source of power which is love The end of these comedies: a festive celebration of a new world/society The physical space (the city, the court) turns into a spiritual space in the end, celebrating the triumph of harmony over chaos A Midsummer Night’s Dream Is the comic version of Romeo and Juliet: both plays lea with a pair of lovers whose fate is controlled by superior forces: Father Lorenz and hazard In R&J, Oberon and the fairies In MANS B.
Histories/historical plays: Definition Tudor propaganda, a voice against the perils of civil wars English Histories: King John, Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, Richard Ill, Henry Shakespearean view on History: His historical plays make the transition from the ancient Roman dramatist Seneca (died in 1st century A. D. ) (drama of revenge, of “blood and thunder” to the inner stage f man’s mind and feelings: the king-?the head, the country’=his body.
If the head is ill, the country suffers. “The illness of the head” (the king) also implies usurpation, which triggers a cosmic disease. The usurping king is diseased by his own ambition The symbol of the crown (the visible and the invisible): 1 . An object of power, to be envied, to be looked for. 2. For Shakespeare, the crown has a moral value: there should be an invisible crown in man (the king), in the richness of his spirit 3. He crown means responsibility: the ins has to renounce his private self and devote his life to the public self, like a saint’s (H V) Richard Ill The monster king, a Machiavellian hero Shakespeare make a study on the anatomy of power: R Ill is determined to transform the world in the mirror of his own image: a mutilated country R Ill: “the scourge of God” because he has a magnetic power that attracts all the evil around, he purifies the country from evil because he sucks it all.
He remains on the stage as the incarnation of evil. He who kills R Ill, kills evil- an end put to the War of the Roses RI”: tot an actor and a spectator: he is not emotionally involved in the murders he commits, he coldly mocks at himself, he is detached, which attracts the sympathy of the spectators. His detachment between acting and feeling, his lucidity and coldness allows him to fascinate Queen Anne He contemplates the rise and fall off king seduced by ambition, power and greatness C.
Tragedies Definition compared with the ancient Greek tragedy Examples: Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, King Lear, Antonym and Cleopatra Shakespearean tragedies deal with the errors of personal feelings, judgment and intervention of forces that take control of characters. Errors of personal feelings and Judgment If one lets loose one’s feelings (of greed and ambition for power like Claudia, Macbeth, Richard Ill, of anger and revenge like Hamlet, of Jealousy like Othello, of arrogance like Polonium, etc) one is doomed.
Hamlet is weak as long as he tries to revenge his father. By killing Claudia, Hamlet perpetuates evil. Alerter, Richard Ill, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth are studies in opacity: they become obsessed with their personal affairs, so, they reach disaster because hey separate themselves from the invisible crown (the moral beauty of the soul) Macbeth separates himself from his king and friends, and in the end, he becomes a stranger to himself.
Macbeth, unlike Richard Ill, remains fully emotionally involved being terrified with the usurped power strange behavior, Lady Macbeth thinking that she is strong enough to push her husband into murdering the king, Hamlet being convinced he can find the truth about his father’s murder and control the situation that will bring Claudia to justice Intervention of Forces . Superior forces echoing the Greek gods from Ancient tragedies: the witches in Macbeth 2. Providence with Hamlet 3. Hazard/Chance/Accident with Hamlet D.
Romances His last plays Definition: more complex plays: tragicomedies with elements from masques plays, pastoral and fantastical elements Examples: The Tempest, A Winter’s Tale, Perils, Prince of Tire The Tempest The image of the crown: Prospers gets the invisible crown when he is banished on the island Art that looks like magic can create only islands: with limited powers: that s why Prospers, in the end, throws his magical wand and his books into the sea (the sea seen as future time, generations to come that twill decide the fate of his art/work) II.
The Metaphysical Poets: John Done, George Herbert, Andrew Marvel In the 17th century, they wrote religious poetry and love poetry John Done and George Herbert were Protestant priests They made use of a certain type of metaphor called CONCEIT: an exaggerated metaphor with one single element that unites the two unlike things that are compared.
John Donna’s poem A Lecture Upon A Shadow is a conceit in itself: the hysterical shadows of the two lovers that change with the day are compared with their different stages of their feelings of love for each other Their language is artificial based on conceit, paradoxes, wit The poet is a courtier trying to conquer the audience/reader by subtle strategy addressed to a very cultivated intellectual reader Their art is characterized by an ornamental poetry, with a powerful rhetoric and highly sophisticated logic sometimes devoid of feeling The love poetry promotes a new type of love: the illicit one: the theme of temptation into sin-?carper diem