14 Chapters
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CHAPTER FOUR Visions of self in Julius Caesar

Grunes, Dorothy T.; Grunes, Jerome M. Karnac Books PDF

CHAPTER FOUR

Visions of self in Julius Caesar

T

his Roman play by William Shakespeare is referred to as his first mature tragedy and is only half the length of Hamlet. It was written and performed in 1599 (Platter, 1599, pp. 139–161), and is the play that Shakespeare chose to open the Globe Theatre. The plot appears simple and direct. There is little humour by contemporary or even Elizabethan standards. It is a drama dominated by men and in which its only two women are not listened to, and are both refused.

There are gruesome murders and suicides performed on the stage. It is not just a play of action, as there are poetic passages and fine lines, perhaps none more famous than Antony’s funeral oration. These words and phrases entered our language and remain there, such as “Et tu,

Brute”, “the dogs of war”, and “cowards die many times, the valiant but once”. There are omens, supernatural storms, dreams, and even a visitation from a ghost; shades of what was to come in both Hamlet, and Macbeth. The ending cleanly resolves the conflicts raised in the play. It is no wonder that educators use this play as an introduction to Shakespeare. When the senior author first read it in the seventh grade it seemed a “blood and guts” thriller. It was only later in life with re-reading, and seeing film and stage versions that the drama revealed its psychological depth. While Hamlet demands much of the audience

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Chapter Six - The Future of an Illusionist

Grunes, Dorothy T.; Grunes, Jerome M. Karnac Books ePub

The Tempest, William Shakespeare's final solo work, is one of his most popular plays. It continues to inspire artists of every genre. It is almost the shortest play, and critics often comment on its symmetry. The play begins with a shipwreck and magical arrival and ends with a ship restored and a magical departure. There is also symmetry in the themes: serenity and turmoil, legitimacy and usurpation, fertility and bareness, masculinity and femininity, and mature vs. adolescent drives. The entire play in form and content is a mirror image of itself. There are frequent interruptions in the speeches and in the actions. Even the language itself is especially abbreviated, and is so truncated that even the syllables collapse on themselves (Vaughan & Vaughan, 1999, pp. 14–21).

Like the classic epics of Greece and Rome, we enter during the storm in media res, not simply in the middle of the story, but as if we are interrupting something already underway. The Tempest, then, is a phenomenon that can be witnessed, but there is also an internal storm that rages and must be inferred from the text.

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CHAPTER SIX The future of an illusionist

Grunes, Dorothy T.; Grunes, Jerome M. Karnac Books PDF

CHAPTER SIX

The future of an illusionist

T

he Tempest, William Shakespeare’s final solo work, is one of his most popular plays. It continues to inspire artists of every genre.

It is almost the shortest play, and critics often comment on its symmetry. The play begins with a shipwreck and magical arrival and ends with a ship restored and a magical departure. There is also symmetry in the themes: serenity and turmoil, legitimacy and usurpation, fertility and bareness, masculinity and femininity, and mature vs. adolescent drives. The entire play in form and content is a mirror image of itself. There are frequent interruptions in the speeches and in the actions. Even the language itself is especially abbreviated, and is so truncated that even the syllables collapse on themselves (Vaughan &

Vaughan, 1999, pp. 14–21).

Like the classic epics of Greece and Rome, we enter during the storm in media res, not simply in the middle of the story, but as if we are interrupting something already underway. The Tempest, then, is a phenomenon that can be witnessed, but there is also an internal storm that rages and must be inferred from the text.

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CHAPTER ONE The metaphysics and metapsychology of evil in Othello

Grunes, Dorothy T.; Grunes, Jerome M. Karnac Books PDF

CHAPTER ONE

The metaphysics and metapsychology of evil in Othello

F

rom the simplistic duality of the Middle Ages, William

Shakespeare was the first, in the English language, to craft characters with an understanding of the unconscious and the inner conflicts that motivate our species. It is no wonder that Sigmund

Freud was so enamoured of Shakespeare that he learned English specifically to read Shakespeare’s writings in its original language.

Shakespeare went beyond the stock characters of the morality plays that preceded him, with their overt personifications of virtue and vice, and gave us, for the first time, human “villains”. These were different from the allegorical villains that had been in repertoire. Here we find each one has his or her own history, which, brought to the drama, does much to further our understanding of their motivations. For instance,

Richard III concisely describes his version of his early life. He says that he was not fully formed before being expelled from the womb. Born prematurely he is:

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CHAPTER TWO Mothers in Shakespeare—absent and present

Grunes, Dorothy T.; Grunes, Jerome M. Karnac Books PDF

CHAPTER TWO

Mothers in Shakespeare—absent and present

W

ithin William Shakespeare’s great body of work, the role of mothers comes as a great surprise. It is tempting to utilise a structuralist’s solution. On Shakespeare’s stage there were no females. To portray a young woman the solution was simple; to have a boy costumed as a girl. For a man to play an adult woman would be a more difficult dilemma. In a comedy with many adult female characters, such as The Merry Wives of Windsor, this would not prove an obstacle. If the costume effect failed, it could simply further the comedic effect. In a tragedy, however, it was more complex. Despite the legal limitations

Shakespeare was burdened with, what is of interest is the solution that he chose. We cannot speculate upon the nature of his creative process or the effect his life experience had on his writing. We can, however, examine our reaction to his portrayals of mothers in the resulting artistic creations.

Alan Rothenberg, reflecting on this same paucity of mothers in

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