pol, econ, rel problems -> tensions + underline contradictions btw main ideals of the Ren: balance under Elizabeth seriously undermined=>disillusionment, questioning spirit-> mood of discontent
In his early works, Shakespeare quite follows the contemporary trends but transcend the fashion to adapt it to his own end.
He uses THE SONNET but addresses his to a young man or a lady but express disillusioned passion.
Traditional comparisons and sophisticated images but not for the sake of decoration: old clichés serve his aim to express a profound moral vision, and universal truths about love, life, nature and the power of art to transcend time.
+2 long narrative poems: "Venus and Adonis" and "The Rape of Lucrerce" -> kind of classical stories beloved at the time
long narrative poem
long narrative poem
1590s: farces ≠ romantic comedies -
mid 1590s: tends to fuse the 2 types -
late 1590s sunny comedies (><dark comedies under James I)
romantic comedy: focus on the character involved in a love intrigue.
farce: emphasis on the comic situation
farce: empasis on the comic situation
mix of farcical and romantic comedy: romantic lovers -> irrealities of romance rebuked by reason
romantic comedy: PARODIES LYLY's affectation (manners, style, language)
neither sunny nor dark comedy: Shylock, the Jew, was a figure of fun and evil but tends to be viewed as tragic nowadays.
Antonio borrows money from Shylock to help Bassanio who wants to marry Portia -> Shylock agrees if Antonio give him a pound of flesh if he doesn't pay back in time.
Antonio's ships are wrecked, cannot pay the money -> court: Portia, dressed as a lawyer, tries to persuade Shylock to have mercy -> fails -> tells him he can have the flesh only if no blood -> success
farce: emphasis on the comic situation
SUNNY COMEDIES: love and laughter very well-balanced
most engaging characters = well-balanced young people (women) who can live easily on the world of reality as well as in fantasy an d who can see the funny side of their own romantic excesses
"the perfection of English comedy"
Duke Orsino thinks to be in love with Lady Olivia, but in fact, he's in love with love.
twin cause confusion with their disguises
2 knights provide amusement with foolish plans and drinking.
first wrote history plays, much in vogue and not difficult to construct
+ 4 more tragedies which are revenge tragedies : influence in the concept of the "fall of Princes", not due to fate but caused by the hero himself: explores relationship between character and destiny (modern idea: responsible for one's fate) ==> + influence of morality play: distinction good/evil + tragic hero = prototype of humanity
tries to capture the harmonies and the eloquence of Marlowe
early and violent tragedy of revenge: challenged Kyd's "Spanish Tragedy"
influence of Marlowe's blank verse
greater mastery: characters speak more naturally
Seneca: Romeo's desire for revenge; but horror of bloody murders not stressed => sense of pity in the death of the 2 lovers
plot based on a narrative poem by Arthur Brooke, itself based on an Italian tale by Bandello
lovers do not die in vain: their death brings about the reconciliation of the families -> peace in Verona
famous for beautiful poetry (prologue + some lover's speeches = sonnets) + dramatic excellence... yet fate is largely responsible for their death
Senecan characteristics: ghost + revenge
brilliant display of national pride about Henry's victory over the French at Agincourt in 1415
action vs thought
Dark comedies, or problem plays: questioning spirit and social discontent felt in Shakespeare's grieve and angry satirical portrait of the new age. (follows the trend of the time)
analysis of the desintegraton of a heroic age
idealizes the elderly characters//disappearing virtues of the Elizabethan age
indictment of city government and of the court
the world is full of inscrutable forms of evil -> explores man's complex relationship with the forces of evil: desease threatening to poison the whole universe. ALWAYS: 1°a noble figure having to make a choice (moral conflict) involving the entire nation and which reveals a weakness in his nature -> falls 2° central action + portray of the whole world in which the hero moves. 3° different audiences/levels of intelligence (action/moral+psycho/poesy+symbolism) 4° non classical: mixes prose and verse, noble characters in comic plots, comic scenes (mixes tones and genres), no respect of the 3 unities => ROMANTIC
paradoxes of good and evil + irony that evi can be bred out of innocence.
Othello kills his wife Desdemona by fear that she might love someone else (Iago (REALIST) makes him believe so, but it's false) => for Iago, the success of their love is impossible because you need cunning to be successful. Othello = man of action, decides to act in a way that will preserve the integrity of his moral -> discovers the truth and kills himself
progress of evil within a human personality
2 good characters (Macbeth and Lady Macbeth): their finest quality (their love) becomes the means of their ruin under the influence of evil ambition.
wants to become king->lady conspires to eliminate the legitimate king of scotland-> neccessity to commit further crimes to keep the crown-> knows it's worthless
==> fight against the forces of good, eventually defeated
study in selfishness and greed
Lear's weakness: openness to flattery. gives his kingdom to his evils daughters who flatter him and nothing to the one who says nothing in fear of belittling her feelings (loves him best).
Achieves self-knowledge through sufferingn at the cost of his reason: redeemed when loses his prode and learns to see through deceptive appearances.
archetypal images produce a large and cosmic view of man's fate + sharp insight into ordinary human psychology
new attitude to life and art: deal with evil and innocence, guilt and atonement -> uncorrupted youth and innoncence undoing the evils of the past and starting life afresh + symbolic world (elem of mythology, folklore, magic) where innocence can triumph and gods enable evils to be undone (no direct analysis of the paradoxes of human nature, no psychologiczl realism => larger poetic symbolism that reveals the moral patterns and possibilities of human life)
UNDOING THE EVIL // RITUAL of redemption (regeneration)
theme of FORGIVENESS
magic island (sort of garden of Eden): Prospero (kind of god) controls everythig with supernatural powers. At the end, Miranda wants to go and test her vortue inthe great wicked world: necessary to go where human beings belong+there might be a form of glory there
play full of grave beauty + rich poetry, play of wish-fulfilment in whch virtue is uppermost and innocence can triumph.
After this play, decides to write no more (a speech in the play shows it)