Shakespeare's Mediated World

Shakespeare's Mediated World

Shakespeare's Mediated World

Shakespeare's Mediated World

Excerpt

This book is primarily a study of five Shakespearean plays that have proven especially difficult for both the critic and the general audience. For the most part I concentrate on the specific qualities of each play and try to avoid blurring the great differences, generic and otherwise, between them. I bring these particular plays together for general scrutiny, however, because I believe they do share some crucial features and also because I think they offer, when studied in sequence, a more precise understanding of Shakespeare's ceaseless, ever deepening engagement with his challenging medium.

Two of the plays I discuss, Troilus and Cressida and Measure for Measure, display formal and thematic peculiarities that have caused some critics to group them together under the question-begging rubric of "Problem Plays." A third play, Timon of Athens, has failed to command enough critical respect to merit consideration even as a problem. Instead, commentators have usually labelled it unfinished and simply dismissed it as uninteresting to all but perhaps the textual scholar. On the other hand, Romeo and Juliet and King Lear, the other two plays I examine, are long-established masterpieces that probably measure, by their obvious differences in vision and structure, the unparalleled scope of Shakespeare's versatility in the tragic mode. Despite such sustained popularity, however, commentators continue to . . .

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