The Tragedies of William Shakespeare (Shakespeare: His Work and World)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Examines the tragedies of Shakespeare, including "Romeo and Juliet," "Othello," and "Macbeth."
confined to a single general statement that covers all cases, for each tragedy belongs to a separate category: revenge tragedy in Hamlet, domestic tragedy in Othello, social tragedy in King Lear, political tragedy in Macbeth, and heroic tragedy in Antony and Cleopatra. This chapter discusses the tragedies in a general fashion, and summarizes each play individually. REVENGE TRAGEDY Revenge tragedy—drama in which the dominant motive is revenge for a real or imagined injury—was a favourite
French translation of a tale by the Italian Matteo Bandello. Shakespeare sets the scene in Verona, Italy. Juliet and Romeo meet and fall instantly in love at a masked ball of the Capulets, and they profess their love when Romeo, unwilling to leave, climbs the wall into the orchard garden of her family’s house and finds her alone at her window. Because their well-to-do families are enemies, the two are married secretly by Friar Laurence. When Tybalt, a Capulet, seeks out Romeo in revenge for the
nature / Possess it merely” (Act I, scene 2, lines 135–137). Shakespeare was about 36 when he wrote this play. Othello centres on sexual jealousy in marriage. King Lear is about aging, generational conflict, and feelings of ingratitude. Macbeth explores ambition mad enough to kill a father figure who stands in the way. Antony and Cleopatra, written when Shakespeare was 42 or thereabouts, studies the exhilarating but ultimately dismaying phenomenon of midlife crisis. Shakespeare moves his readers
enact his revenge and kill Claudius. Hamlet then dies at the hands of Polonius’s son, Laertes. Hamlet’s psychological depth is what sets it apart from Shakespeare’s other tragedies. The depiction of the troubled thoughts of the “melancholy Dane” is often cited as the most penetrating and multifaceted depiction of the human psyche in English literature. Based on the Italian drama De gli Hecatommithi (1565), Shakespeare’s Othello concerns the downfall of the play’s title character as plotted by
eventually found and nurtured before his death by his once-maligned son, Edgar, who, like Cordelia, has managed to find consolations against the evils of the world in an inner philosophy that cannot be affected by the Fates. Shakespeare’s Macbeth is the shortest of his tragedies, with no subplots to complement the main narrative. The result is a forceful story of the Scottish general Macbeth as he seizes power and is subsequently destroyed. The drama begins with Macbeth and his fellow general