Shakespeare's Hamlet

Author: Graham Bradshaw

Publisher: Connell Publishing

ISBN: 9781907776601

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 128

View: 9771

In the four centuries since Shakespeare’s death in 1616, Hamlet has almost always been regarded as Shakespeare’s greatest play. This is not surprising. As Barbara Everett has observed, Hamlet was not only “the first great tragedy in Europe for two thousand years”; it was, and still is, “the world’s most sheerly entertaining tragedy, the cleverest, perhaps even the funniest”. The character of Hamlet utterly dominates the play he so reluctantly inhabits to a degree that is rivalled only by Prospero in The Tempest. Even when he isn’t on stage, speaking nearly 40% of the play’s text, the other characters are talking and worrying about him. This is the most obvious reason why Hamlet criticism over the years has been so Hamlet-centred: many critics, from Coleridge through to A. C. Bradley and beyond, see the play and its other characters almost entirely through Hamlet’s eyes. In this book Graham Bradshaw sets out to correct this. For in his view the play is no exception to – and indeed can be seen as an extreme example of – Shakespeare’s usual dramatic method, which was never to press or even reveal his own view on controversial issues like the divine right of kings or honour or ghosts and purgatory, but to “frame” these issues by assembling characters who think and feel differently about them. With Shakespeare it is hard, even impossible, to know what he thinks about (say) revenge or incest or suicide – and Hamlet’s view is often strikingly different from the views of those around him. If the doubts about whether the Ghost in Hamlet is the messenger of divine justice or a devilish instrument of damnation were ever finally resolved, the play would be diminished, or shrivel into a museum piece.

Shakespeare's Second Tetralogy

Author: Cedric Watts

Publisher: Connell Publishing

ISBN: 9781907776298

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 160

View: 6904

In his first tetralogy of history plays (Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3, and Richard III), Shakespeare offered the most extensive dramatic sequence since the great days of ancient Greek drama in Athens. Critics have sometimes disparaged this first tetralogy as episodic and amateurish. There are various lively scenes, and some characters radiate vitality – in Richard III, Shakespeare (defying historical fact) created a superbly memorable monster, the grotesque and arrogant villain whom audiences love to hate. But if the Shakespeare of the first tetralogy blithely embarrasses his modern fans by the abundance of jingoistic propaganda, his second tetralogy (Richard II, Henry IV Parts One and Two and Henry V) is much more sophisticated and ambiguous. Indeed, in view of the problems of censorship which he faced, Shakespeare provides remarkably incisive insights into the behaviour of kings and their followers and opponents. The second tetralogy is rich in characterisation, memorable in heroic and plangent rhetoric, crafty in its plotting, and exceptionally intelligent in the way it relates low life to high life, the small to the great, the farcical to the tragic. The vitality of Shakespeare’s second tetralogy has ensured its endurance for more than four centuries. It is not simply a sequence of perennially entertaining plays; it is part of England’s cultural identity, and continues to contribute to the shaping of that identity. The tetralogy dramatises nostalgia poignantly and critically; now it, too, forms part of the nation’s cultural nostalgia. At the same time, it exposes the continuing wiles of politicians, and offers ever-topical warnings about the cost of military ventures overseas.

Shakespeare's Othello

Author: Graham Bradshaw

Publisher: Connell Publishing

ISBN: 9781907776007

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 128

View: 4963

With the exception of Hamlet, Othello is Shakespeare’s most controversial play. It is also his most shocking. Dr Johnson famously described the ending as “not to be endured”, and H.H. Furness, after editing the Variorum edition of the play, confessed to wishing that “this tragedy had never been written”. No play in performance has prompted more outbursts from onlookers: there are many recorded instances of members of the audience actually trying to intervene to prevent Othello murdering Desdemona. It is a more domestic tragedy than Hamlet, King Lear or Macbeth, and it is the intimacy of its subject matter which gives it its dramatic power. Othello is a faithful portrait of life, wrote one anonymous Romantic critic. “Love and jealousy are passions which all men, with few exceptions, have at some time felt.” Othello has also prompted more critical disputes than any other play except Hamlet. How could the hero possibly believe his wife had been unfaithful within a few days of their marriage? Is the marriage consummated (as it is usually assumed to be)? Is Othello a noble hero or is he really just a self-deluded egotist? And in this play about a disastrous inter-racial marriage, how important is the whole issue of race? Is the play itself racist? This book looks at what Othello is really about and why it has such power to move us. It aims to offer a clear, authoritative and fresh view of Othello, while taking account of the many fascinating insights other critics have had into the play in the four centuries since it was written.

John Milton's Paradise Lost

Author: Caroline Moore

Publisher: Connell Publishing

ISBN: 9781907776106

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 168

View: 5455

Dr Johnson sums up the case against Milton: “the want of human interest is always felt.” It is the apparent distance of Paradise Lost from ordinary humanity that has thrilled or repelled critics throughout the ages. While many readers are carried away by Milton’s sublimity, others are daunted by his grandeur, scope and learning. Milton himself declared that he would not begin to write until he had “completed the full circle of my private studies”. The Greek word for a circle of learning is the root of “encyclopaedia”; and Milton’s erudition is encyclopaedic. Paradise Lost draws on both ancient learning and the scholarship of his day, displaying not only his deep knowledge of the Bible and Biblical scholarship, and his passionate assimilation of the classics, but also his absorption in astronomy, cosmology, geography, numerology and science. Yet many critics of Paradise Lost argue that all this circling lacks a human centre. Who, after all, is the hero? Adam and Eve in their unfallen state are too remote from us; Christ is not yet incarnate; God cannot be a character. Which leaves us with the magnificently problematic figure of Satan. In this fascinating study of Milton’s great poem, Caroline Moore suggests that, contrary to what these critics argue, the core of Paradise Lost is extraordinarily human. Milton himself believed that poetry excelled at describing “the wily subtleties and refluxes of man’s thought from within”. This is precisely what Paradise Lost does. If, to a generation raised on the novel, Milton’s methods of psychological exploration seem strange, this only intensifies the effect: Paradise Lost is a poem that explores the dark byways and infinite strangeness of the human heart.

Tragedy: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Adrian Poole

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192802356

Category: Drama

Page: 147

View: 3730

What has tragedy been made to mean by dramatists, story-tellers, critics, philosophers, politicians, and journalists? This work shows the relevance of tragedy to the modern world, and extends beyond drama and literature into visual art and everyday experience.

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Author: Simon Palfrey

Publisher: Connell Publishing

ISBN: 9781907776083

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 128

View: 8697

Romeo and Juliet is routinely called “the world’s greatest love story”, as though it is all about romance. The play features some of the most lyrical passages in all of drama, and the lovers are young, beautiful, and ardent. But when we look at the play, the lyricism and the romance are not really what drive things along. It is true that Romeo, especially early on in the play, acts like a young man determined to take his place in an immortal tale of love. Everything he says is romantic – but rather like an anniversary card is romantic. His words propel nothing, or nothing but sarcastic admonitions from his friends to forget about love and to treat women as they should be treated, with careless physical appetite. The world we have entered is rapacious more than romantic. Everyone knows something of this, from the film versions of the story if nothing else. Romeo and Juliet must fight for their love inside a culture of stupid hatreds. But it is not a simple case of love versus war, or the city against the couple. If it were, it would nicely reinforce clichés about true love, fighting against the odds. In this book Simon Palfrey suggests that the play Shakespeare actually wrote is more troubling than this. Juliet’s passion – for all her youth, for all its truth – is at the very cusp of murderousness. Juliet is the world’s scourge, in the sense that she will whip and punish and haunt it; she is also its triumph, in the sense of its best and truest thing. The deaths her love leads to are in no way avoidable, and in no way accidental. They are her inheritance, the thing she was born to. Of course she takes Romeo with her. But it is at heart her play.

T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland

Author: Seamus Perry

Publisher: Connell Publishing

ISBN: 9781907776274

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 128

View: 7455

The Waste Land, first published in 1922, is not far from a century old, and it has still not been surpassed as the most famous of all modern poems. In many ways, it continues to define what we mean by modern whenever we begin to speak about modern verse. At the same time, as Ted Hughes once observed, it is also genuinely popular, and not just among the cogniscenti or the degree-bearing. “I remember when I taught fourteen-year-old boys in a secondary modern school,” Hughes once said, “of all the poetry I introduced them to, their favourite was The Waste Land.” Not for nothing was it included, in its entirety, in The Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse (1973), edited by Philip Larkin, a poet not known otherwise for his hospitality to modernism. The poem’s appeal is intellectual, certainly, but also visceral. It fulfils in miniature the demands that Eliot made of the great poet at large: “abundance, variety, and complete competence” – the first of those criteria of greatness all the more surprising, and moving, to find accomplished in a poem that has its starting place in so barren a human territory. The poetry is modern in a wholly self-conscious way, but the modernity of Eliot’s poem stems in large part from a strikingly powerful awareness of what’s past. In this book, the Oxford scholar Seamus Perry points out some of the fruits of that acute historical awareness – and shares his own admiration of, and pleasure in, the extraordinary voicings and counter-voicings of this perpetually great work.


A Facing-Pages Translation into Contemporary English

Author: Jonnie Patricia Mobley

Publisher: Lorenz Educational Press

ISBN: 177344140X

Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Page: 272

View: 2835

The Access to Shakespeare edition of Hamlet offers a way to read and study the drama without distracting footnotes. Each page of the play is paired with a modern English translation that parallels the original, line for line. It breaks down the linguistic barriers so you can sort out the truth from the lies and determine the right course of action—just as Shakespeare’s first audience did. Witness the swirling conflicts between duty and conscience, love and remembrance, and revenge and justice with ease. For an even better experience, use this edition alongside the Hamlet Manual.

Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre

Author: Josie Billington

Publisher: Connell Publishing

ISBN: 9781907776175

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 144

View: 1952

Jane Eyre, published on 16th October 1847, was an instant popular success. More than 150 years later, it still powerfully affects its readers with all the charge of a new-minted work. It is easy to forget, now, how shocking it was to its mid-19th century readers. Virtually every early reviewer felt obliged either to condemn or defend its impropriety. As Josie Billington reminds us in this compelling guide, the most savage reviews denounced the “coarseness” of language, the “unfeminine” laxity of moral tone, and the “dereliction of decorum” which made its hero cruel, brutal, yet attractively interesting, while permitting its plain, poor, single heroine to live under same roof as the man she loved. What caused most outrage, perhaps, was the demonstrable rebellious anger in the heroine’s “unregenerate and undisciplined spirit”, her being a passionate law unto herself. “Never was there a better hater. Every page burns with moral Jacobinism,” wrote an early critic. As the poet Matthew Arnold was to say of Brontë’s “disagreeable” final novel, Villette, “the writer’s mind contains nothing but hunger, rebellion and rage”. In this book Josie Billington looks at the passion and indeed rage which filled Bronte, and shows us that, though sometimes criticised for melodrama, this is a novel of great intellectual seriousness, moral integrity and depth of feeling. She quotes George Henry Lewis: “It is soul speaking to soul; it is an utterance from the depths of a struggling, suffering, much-enduring spirit.

Dermatology Made Easy

Author: Amanda Oakley

Publisher: Royal College of General Practitioners

ISBN: 1911510118


Page: 438

View: 4342

Dermatology Made Easy is based on the hugely popular DermNet New Zealand website and is designed to help GPs, medical students and dermatologists diagnose skin conditions with confidence. The book starts by providing a series of comprehensive tables, complete with over 500 thumbnail photos, to aid diagnosis according to symptoms, morphology, or body site. Once you have narrowed down the diagnosis, cross-references then guide you to more detailed descriptions, and another 700 photographs, covering: · common infections · inflammatory rashes · non-inflammatory conditions · skin lesions Every section provides consistent information on the disorder: · who gets it and what causes it? · what are the clinical features and does it cause any complications? · how do you diagnose it? · how do you treat it and how long does it take to resolve? The book concludes with a comprehensive section on further investigations and treatment options. Dermatology Made Easy combines the essential focus of the Made Easy book series with the authority and knowledge base of DermNet New Zealand’s unparalleled resources. Printed in full colour throughout.

Romeo and Juliet

Author: N. H. Keeble

Publisher: Addison-Wesley Longman Limited

ISBN: 9780582823075

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 151

View: 5908

'York Notes Advanced' offer an accessible approach to English Literature. This series has been completely updated to meet the needs of today's A-level and undergraduate students. Written by established literature experts, 'York Notes Advanced' introduce students to sophisticated analysis, a range of critical perspectives and wider contexts.

Angela's Ashes

A Memoir

Author: Frank McCourt

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 068484267X

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 363

View: 7613

The author recounts his childhood in Depression-era Brooklyn as the child of Irish immigrants who decide to return to worse poverty in Ireland when his infant sister dies

Modern Critical Interpretations Set, 83-Volumes

Author: Harold Bloom

Publisher: Chelsea House Pub

ISBN: 9780791096864

Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Page: N.A

View: 3392

" Presents important and scholarly criticism on major works from The Odyssey through modern literature" The critical essays reflect a variety of schools of criticism" Contains notes on the contributing critics, a chronology of the author's life, and an index" Introductory essay by Harold Bloom

CliffsNotes on Shelley's Frankenstein

Author: Jeff Coghill

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN: 0544181573

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 96

View: 2889

The original CliffsNotes study guides offer a look into key elements and ideas within classic works of literature. The latest generation of titles in this series also features glossaries and visual elements that complement the familiar format. CliffsNotes on Frankenstein digs into Dr. Victor Frankenstein's scientific creation, a "hideous and gigantic" monster that the good doctor tries to defeat throughout most of the novel. Following the story of an obsessive man whose determination to create a new race of humans produces monstrous results, this study guide provides summaries and critical commentaries for each part within the novel. Other features that help you figure out this important work include Personal background on the author, including career highlights Introduction to and synopsis of the book In-depth analyses of the principal characters Critical essays on the book's themes, plots, and more Review section that features interactive questions and suggested essay topics Resource Center with books, films and other recordings, and Web sites that can help round out your knowledge Classic literature or modern-day treasure — you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.

Charles Dickens's Great Expectations

Author: John Sutherland,Jolyon Connell

Publisher: Connell Publishing

ISBN: 9781907776038

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 128

View: 5894

Great Expectations is one of the best-selling Victorian novels of our time. No Dickens work, with the exception of A Christmas Carol, has been adapted more for both film and television. It has been as popular with critics as it has with the public. In 1937, George Bernard Shaw called the novel Dickens’s “most compactly perfect book”. John Lucas describes it as “the most perfect and the most beautiful of all Dickens’s novels”, Angus Wilson as “the most completely unified work of art that Dickens ever produced”. Great Expectations has been so successful partly because it’s an exciting story. Dickens always had a keen eye on the market and subscribed to Wilkie Collins’s advice: “make ‘em laugh, make ‘em cry, above all make ‘em wait.” From the violent opening scene on the marshes to the climax of Magwitch’s attempted escape on the Thames, the story is full of suspense, mystery and drama. But while these elements of Great Expectations have ensured its popularity, it is also a novel which, as this guide will seek to show, raises profound questions not just about the nature of Victorian society but about the way human relationships work and the extent to which people are shaped by their childhoods and the circumstances in which they grow up.

Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

Author: Andrew James Hartley

Publisher: Connell Publishing

ISBN: 9781911187394

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 100

View: 4645

Julius Caesar stands at the changing of the tide in Shakespeare’s career. By 1599, when he wrote the play, he had penned only two experimental tragedies (Romeo and Juliet and Titus Andronicus), neither of which had the profound richness of those he would write next – Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello and King Lear. There is a scale to Caesar which is unmatched by anything he had written before it and it lays the groundwork for the master works to follow. As such, it stands not just at the turn of the century, but at the point in which its author emerged as the language’s foremost writer. Our sense of the play has evolved over the centuries, and we tend to be less overawed by all the characters’ claims to personal nobility and quicker to see the darker side of their political machinations. We are also less likely to see the Roman model of life and virtue as something being offered up for emulation. Indeed it now seems to most critics that Shakespeare was deeply critical of ancient Rome, seeing much of what its characters celebrate as principle as the root cause of all that goes wrong in the play. But that is the nature of scholarship and the theatre – each period finds in the play what interests it most – Julius Caesar remains a powerful study in political gamesmanship, the morality of assassination, and the ways in which people build a sense of who they are.

Shakespeare: Hamlet

a casebook

Author: John Davies Jump

Publisher: N.A


Category: Tragedy

Page: 221

View: 3823

As attested to by countless stage and screen productions, "Hamlet" forever retains its fascination for audiences. It's an absorbing intellectual drama of the contemplative prince who reluctantly ventures in pursuit of revenge. Hamlet's musings on the nature and consequences of human activity have accorded him the reputation as literature's "first modern man."