Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Rhetorical Readings, Dark Comedies, and Shakespeare's Problem Plays

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Rhetorical Readings, Dark Comedies, and Shakespeare's Problem Plays

Article excerpt

Ira Clark, Rhetorical Readings, Dark Comedies, and Shakespeare's Problem Plays (Gainesville, FIa: University Press of Florida, 2007). ? + 144 pp. ISBN 978-0-8130-3040-1. $5 5.00. This book argues that the key to understanding the dark or 'problem' comedies - Measure for Measure, AWs Well That Ends Well, and Troilus and Cressida - is considering their most prominent rhetorical features. The emphasis on rhetoric attempts to mediate between formalist and historicist analysis. The account begins from literary and critical contexts - Shakespeare's interactions with other Jacobean playwrights; sixteenth-century studies of rhetoric; recent criticism on both topics; and the history of criticism of the problem plays from Alfred Harbage (Shakespeare and the Rival Traditions, 1952), and how Harbage's fundamental questions have been extended or changed by historical shifts, fuller information, and die proliferation and increased sophistication of literary and social theory. There are separate essays on each play. With Measure for Measure the key rhetorical figure is taken to be chiasmus, used to compare and contrast alternatives (justice, mercy) and so compel choice, finally presenting a set of contentious issues as irresolvable. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.