In the seven plays on which the book concentrates, Terence Hawkes finds Shakespeare investigating the operation of two opposed forms of reason, and constructing dramatic metaphors such as the opposition between appearance and reality, or that between true 'manliness' and its false counterpart, which express to the full the tragic nature of the situation.
—Justice John Paul Stevens, Supreme Court of the United States
“Kenji Yoshino is the face and the voice of the new civil rights.”
—Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickled and Dimed
A Thousand Times More Fair is a highly inventive and provocative exploration of ethics and the law that uses the plays of William Shakespeare as a prism through which to view the nature of justice in our contemporary lives. Celebrated law professor and author Kenji Yoshino delves into ten of the most important works of the Immortal Bard of Avon, offering prescient and thought-provoking discussions of lawyers, property rights, vengeance (legal and otherwise), and restitution that have tremendous significance to the defining events of our times—from the O.J. Simpson trial to Abu Ghraib. Anyone fascinated by important legal and social issues—as well as fans of Shakespeare-centered bestsellers like Will in the World—will find A Thousand Times More Fair an exceptionally rewarding reading experience.
In this authoritative new study, Graham Holderness takes us through the context of Shakespeare’s life, times of religious and political turmoil, and looks at what we do know of Shakespeare the Anglican. But then he goes beyond that, and mines the plays themselves, not just for the words of the characters, but for the concepts, themes and language which Shakespeare was himself steeped in – the language of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.
Considering particularly such plays as Richard ll, Henry V, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, Othello, The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale, Holderness shows how the ideas of Catholicism come up against those of Luther and Calvin; how Christianity was woven deep into Shakespeare’s psyche, and how he brought it again and again to his art.
In a period of social, political, and religious upheaval, uncertainty hovered over matters great and small—the succession of the crown, the death of loved ones from plague, the failure of a harvest. Tumultuous social conditions raised ultimate questions for Shakespeare, Bell argues, and ultimately provoked in him a skepticism which casts shadows of existential doubt over his greatest masterpieces.
This book examines the varied uses of illusion, deceit, disguise, and manipulation in the plays, both comedies and tragedies, and traces Shakespeare's use of illusion through his career — from the buoyant optimism of the great comedies and the ambiguity of the middle years to the new richness and power in the romances.
Dawson suggests that the way characters respond to illusory situations sets up a model for the way audiences are meant to respond to the play themselves. Such action at least initially establishes a basis for the movement of characters from self-delusion to self-knowledge. This process of self-realization enables the characters to distinguish truth from appearance, love from infatuation; and significantly, it is a direct result of involvement with illusion and role-playing. It is as if the characters must arrive, within the movement of the plot, at an understanding of, and response to, the nature of drama itself parallel to the audience's experience of the play as a whole. This subtle interplay between audience and characters, where each in a sense represents the other, depends for its life on the physical and psychic distances created by the theatre.