7. Comments on Shakespeare.
1) Shakespeare’s literary ideas:
As a humanist writer, Shakespeare has accepted the Renaissance views on literature. He holds that literature should be a combination of beauty, kindness and truth, and should reflect nature and reality. He claims through the mouth of Hamlet that the “end” of dramatic creation is to give faithful reflection of the social realities of the time. He also says that literary works which have truly reflected nature and reality can reach immortality. He represented the trend of history in giving voice to the desires and aspirations of the people. 2) Characters:
Shakespeare’s major characters are neither merely individual ones nor type ones. By applying a psycho-analytical approach, Shakespeare succeeds in exploring the characters’ inner mind. Shakespeare also portrays his characters in pairs. Contrasts are frequently used to bring vividness to his characters. His characterization describes round characters, and this is one of his chief artistic achievements in his dramas.
3) Construction: Shakespeare’s plays are well-known for their adroit plot
construction. He borrows them from some old plays or storybooks, or from ancient Greek and Roman sources. He would shorten the time and intensity the story. There are usually several treads running through the play. His originality instilled into the old materials a new spirit that gives new life to his plays. His humanism reflects the spirit of his time. The important themes in his dramas that reflect so truthfully the social contradictions of his age.
4) Language: He was a master of English language: 15,000words. Shakespeare used the language with the greatest freedoms and ease, so that all the speeches fit all the characters who speak them. His influence on later writers is immeasurable. Almost all English writers after him have been influenced by him either in artistic point of view, in literary form of in language.
5) style: Dramatic irony is a good means of dramatic presentation. Dramatic irony involves the reader (or audience) knowing something about what's happening in the plot, about which the character(s) have no knowledge. Dramatic irony can be used in comedies and tragedies, and it works to engage the reader, as one is drawn into what is happening. The audience may sympathize with the character, who does not know the true situation. Or, the reader may see the character as blind or ignorant (as with Oedipus). The clues may be rather obvious, but the character may be unwilling to recognize the truth. Shakespeare's Othello offers a good example of dramatic irony, as he blames Desdemona for cuckolding him (even as the audience knows that he is being deceived by Iago). Disguise is also an important device to create dramatic irony, usually with woman disguised as man. For example, in The Merchant of Venice, Portia pretends to be a man, and all the
other characters have not realized the disguise.
6) He was a great poet, lyrical, pathetic, cynical…
4. Definition of Tragedy and Comedy
Tragedies were concerned with the harshness and apparent injustice of life. They involved the trials and eventful death of a hero who was an important person and whose death led to the downfall of others.
a. the central characters are always people of importance, like kings, queens, prince, general, nobles.
b. a tragic hero often a flawed good man; often the hero’s fall from happiness was due
to a weakness in his character, by some great error in his part.
c. supernatural beings are often involved in the conflict of human beings, like gods, spirits, witches, ghosts.
d. sadness is mixed with horror, murder, treachery, and blood-shedding. Catharsis or Cathartic effect of tragedies: Tragedies give an outlet for such emotions as greed, hatred, lust, fear and pity. The audience feel relieved or purged when they leave the theatre.
Comedy deals with ordinary people in everyday situations, it deals with ordinary people in a humble style, usually beginning with misfortune and ending with joy. The purpose of comedy is chiefly to entertain people, but some have moral and corrective purposes, to ridicule and satirize human weaknesses.
Different types of comedies: comedies of humor, of manners, burlesque, farce, satirical comedy, romantic comedy, tragicomedy.
Soliloquy is the act of talking to oneself, whether silently or aloud. In drama it denotes the convention by which a character, alone on the stage, utters his or her thoughts aloud. Playwrights have used this device as a convenient way to convey information about a character’s motives and state of mind, or for purpose of
exposition, and sometimes in order to guide the judgments and responses of the audience.
Definition: Dramatic irony involves the reader (or audience) knowing something
about what's happening in the plot, about which the character(s) have no
knowledge. Dramatic irony can be used in comedies and tragedies, and it works
to engage the reader, as one is drawn into what is happening. The audience may
sympathize with the character, who does not know the true situation. Or, the
reader may see the character as blind or ignorant (as with Oedipus). The clues
may be rather obvious, but the character may be unwilling to recognize the truth.
Examples: Oedipus is a good example of dramatic irony, as the audience knows
that he is the one guilty of the crime he seeks to punish.
Shakespeare's Othello offers another example of dramatic irony, as he blames
Desdemona for cuckolding him (even as the audience knows that he is being
deceived by Iago).