If we read Shakespeare assuming that he is a consummate artist producing nothing but flawless masterpieces, then we have to account for anything which is inconsistent with that assumption by saying it is an intended part of the deep design. Mr French asks whether Shakespeare wasn't sometimes frankly opportunist, or couldn't see clearly what he wanted to say, or, having seen it, couldn't bring himself to face its consequences. Hamlet in particular is a failure for reasons which have nothing to do with the hero's famous 'psychology'; Lear is much more disturbing than the redemptivists make it; Othello comes close to being a melodrama; while Antony wavers dangerously in tone and in the seriousness of Shakespeare's involvement. This is not a simple devaluation of the national literary institution. It is a patient attempt at open-mindedness, based on a sense of Shakespeare as profoundly original but also human and therefore fallible.
|Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)|
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; Note on texts; 1. Introduction: what do we bring to Shakespeare?; 2. Hamlet; 3. Othello; 4. King Lear; 5. Antony and Cleopatra; Index.