Sunday, 29 July 2012

"O ROMEO, ROMEO! WHEREFORE ART THOU ROMEO?"

Romeo and Juliet  is one of  Shakespeare's best-known tragedies and probably the  most famous  love story of all  times.
In world literature Romeo and Juliet have become archetypical ill-fated lovers, and countless other literary and artistic works have been based on this Shakespearean drama, such as the Academy Award-winning films West Side Story  (1961) and Shakespeare in Love (1998).



Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A GENERAL VIEW OF SHAKESPEARE’S WORKS

William Shakespeare  wrote  both  dramatic and  non-dramatic works. The  plays  attributed to him  are 38.  It  is  possible  to  divide  them  into  three  chronological  periods,  each  one  with  clear  characteristics  of  its  own. 
The  first  period (1590-1599)  includes  comedies (e.g.  The  Comedy  of  Errors, A  Midsummer Night’s Dream,  The  Merchant  of  Venice),  history  plays (Richard III) and  tragedies  (Romeo  and  Juliet,  Julius Caesar)In  this  period  Shakespeare  showed  great  sympathy  for  human  nature  and  a  positive  attitude  to  life. Even  when the  play  has  a  tragic  conclusion,  life  is  still presented  positively  as  worth  living.  Romeo  and  Juliet,  for  example,  is  a  celebration  of  love  in  spite  of  its  tragic  ending.      These  plays  are   characterized  by  complicated  plots and increasing ability  in  characterization; great  experimentation in the use of poetic  imagery  which  is  often  influenced  by  the  language of  courtly  love;  mixture  of  rhyme,  blank  verse  and  prose.  The  central  themes  are  love  and  appearance  and  reality,  especially in the  comedies,  the  restoration of  order  in  the  histories  and  tragedies.  



Thursday, 12 July 2012

RENAISSANCE DRAMA


During the Renaissance the concept of drama changed completely. Through their many-sided heroes and heroines, the dramatists of the age led by Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) and later  William Shakespeare (1564 -1616),  began to explore the many sides of  human nature. Their plays also explored  various  stages  of England’s history, both celebrating  the nation’s triumphs and criticizing  darker  periods.
Christopher Marlowe  is the first great playwright in English. His most  significant play is Doctor Faustus, which is almost an allegory of the humanist revolution. Faustus’s pact with the devil, to whom he promises his soul in return for unlimited  power and knowledge, can  be seen as a metaphor both for the humanist idea of man breaking free of God’s control, and for England’s break  with the Roman Catholic Church.  The play ends with Faustus’s  penitence, but its revolutionary  theme  is  of  man independently  choosing his own fate.
Shakespeare’s literary  achievement is unprecedented  and probably has never been equalled in its originality and range of  concerns.  Ben Jonson famously said that Shakespeare’s art  “was not of an age,  but for  all time”.  It is difficult to say exactly  what separates Shakespeare from all other writers.  His works communicate a profound knowledge of the wellsprings of human behaviour, revealed through portrayals  of  a wide variety of characters. His use of poetic and dramatic means to create a unified aesthetic effect out of a multiplicity of vocal expressions and actions is recognised as a singular achievement, and his use of poetry within his plays to express the deepest levels of human motivation in individual, social and universal situations is considered one of the greatest accomplishments in literary history.
Shakespeare formulates the unanswerable questions which continue to plague philosophers and writers:  What is the self?  (Hamlet)  What is love and what are its limits? (Romeo and Juliet, Othello)  How should a head of state behave? (Henry V)  What is evil and how  does it appear in the world?  (Richard IIIMacbeth)  Where  does the line between sanity and  madness lie? (King Lear)