Mutability and Division on Shakespeare's Stage
This book explores how Shakespeare's plays dramatize the ways in which the struggle with mortality generates intractable divisions within human experience. The author illuminates how different plays uniquely illustrate, for example, the convergence in human affairs of political conflict and conflicting ways of answering life's finitude. Divisions within the self are further explored in relation to such dilemmas as conflicts between individual and collective ways of confronting death, or confusion between secular and sacred views of temporality. The cry of Remember Me from the Ghost of Hamlet's father, the melancholy Jacques' reflections on mortality, Leontes' fear of bodily corruption - they all under come under study to reveal how they express attitudes toward death that divide the self and the social order. The book is also rooted in the theater, and so relates the theatrical conventions of Shakespeare's time to the thematic matter of the book. The author demonstrates how the plays' divisions are related to stage practices and the mixing of illusionistic and nonillusionistic modes of acting. Yu Jin Ko is Associate Professor of English at Wellesley College.
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