Shakespeare's Lyricized Drama

Shakespeare's Lyricized Drama

Shakespeare's Lyricized Drama

Shakespeare's Lyricized Drama

Synopsis

This work explores Shakespeare's artistic achievements as a blend of the dramatic and lyrical modes. In a series of textual analyses, it traces the gradual integration of the two from 'Love's Labour's Lost' through 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Richard II' to 'As You Like It' and 'Hamlet', with a final glance at the great tragedies.

Excerpt

We are so used to calling Shakespeare's plasy "POETIC DRAMA" that we hardly ever stop to think about the more specifically generic meaning of the term implying a set of distinctive features that separate them as a class. What makes a drama poetic is not the mere fact that it is (mainly) written in verse, but rather its preference for a type of language we associate with poetry and, even more importantly, its dealing with its material in a way that would be considered poetic. It is therefore fair to see poetic drama—and, in particular, its variety characteristic of the English Renaissance—as a kind profoundly molded by the methods and techniques of poetry. How this combination is effected in its details is a question that might help us to understand better the specificity of Shakespeare’s artistic achievement and the power of its impact. Such is the task that the present study sets for itself.

The Renaissance was an age particularly prone to the interplay and hybridization of genres. It created such crossbreeds as the romantic epic, the pastoral romance, the epigrammatic sonnet, the tragicomedy, even the “tragic farce.” But none of these can compare to the marriage this period effected between two of the most basic types of literature, drama and poetry. While it is true that Shakespeare was neither the first nor the only begetter of English poetic drama, it can hardly be disputed that it “grew to maturity in his lifetime and that Shakespeare was a major fashioner of its growth.” It would therefore be interesting to see how he introduced the poetic element into his plays and, further, how gradually he perfected the generic blend by making it less local and mechanical, more pervasive and organic. in order to study this development as a process, I have chosen to examine a few of Shakespeare’s dramas leading to his own and the period’s aesthetic maturity in their chronological order.

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