The Problem Plays of Shakespeare: A Study of Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, Antony and Cleopatra

The Problem Plays of Shakespeare: A Study of Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, Antony and Cleopatra

The Problem Plays of Shakespeare: A Study of Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, Antony and Cleopatra

The Problem Plays of Shakespeare: A Study of Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, Antony and Cleopatra

Excerpt

This book has been written out of a feeling of acute dissatisfaction--which I share with many students of Shakespeare --with the common grouping together of All's Well, Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida, and sometimes Hamlet, as Shakespeare's Problem Plays. It seeks to define the term 'problem play' more narrowly and precisely than has been done in the past and to apply it to a largely different group of plays, which it seems to fit more adequately. Measure for Measure remains, but to it are added Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra, to which the term has not, to my knowledge, been previously applied.

Each of the three plays is discussed in a separate chapter, which has been written in such a way that it can be read and understood by itself, without knowledge of the chapters that precede it.

With each of the plays I have discussed all those elements which seemed to me of importance and about which I felt I had something new and not irrelevant to say. The 'problem play' aspect is only one of these elements, and by no means always the one to which I have given most space.

I am most grateful to a number of scholars, who have read one or all of the chapters in manuscript, and from whose advice and criticism I have profited: Professor Adrien Bonjour, Dr. Hermann Fischer, Mrs. Shelagh Hunter, Dr. J. W. Lever, Mr. J. C. Maxwell, Mr. Brian Morris, Professor Kenneth Muir, Dr. F. W. Sternfeld, and, above all, Miss Inga-Stina Ekeblad (Mrs. R. Ewbank), and Dr. G. K. Hunter.

My specific obligations to works of Shakespeare criticism I have tried to acknowledge as fully as possible in the course of the discussion.

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