Unity in Shakespearian Tragedy: The Interplay of Theme and Character

Unity in Shakespearian Tragedy: The Interplay of Theme and Character

Unity in Shakespearian Tragedy: The Interplay of Theme and Character

Unity in Shakespearian Tragedy: The Interplay of Theme and Character

Excerpt

Although the chapters of this book deal with different plays and their special problems, they have a subject in common. Whatever the treatment of a play, the question will be one of theme and its relation to structure and motivation. Structure will simply mean interconnection between elements or qualities. Motivation will mean the creation of a state of mind which governs not only a character but the play of which he is a part. A typical theme which will be considered is drawn from the "recorder" passage which expresses Hamlet's resentment at being played like a simple pipe. With attention to structure, this idea is followed through serious and comic variations from its introduction to its final statement. With reference to motivation, it is considered both as a means of revealing Hamlet's character and as a psychological principle reflected throughout the play. The treatment of thematic elements in other plays will be similar.

The word "theme" will have meanings which occasionally differ, and in the chapter on Macbeth it will be used in a way which probably departs from standard practice. I dislike such terms as "motif," "thread," or "strand," and I do not believe there is anything confusing about using a single . . .

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