In an elegant examination of theme and style, Professor Carroll heightens the reader's awareness of Shakespeare's marvellously inventive use of language. The author analyzes the different kinds of style, the characters' attitudes toward language, the play's theatrical modes, the frequent metamorphoses, and the debates. The term "debate"—justified by Shakespeare's use of the medieval conflictus—relates to both theme and structure. The author finds that the conflicting theories about the proper relation of language and imagination are resolved stylistically and thematically only in the final Debate between Spring and Winter, where the playwright reasserts the nature and value of good art.
Originally published in 1976.
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Representations of middle age occur throughout the Shakespearean canon, in forms ranging from Jaques' "seven ages" speech in As You Like It to the emphasis -- almost an obsession -- in many plays on relations between the generations. Lear, Zender shows, tries to forestall the approach of old age with a fantasy of literal rebirth in his relationship with Cordelia. Macbeth depicts an even more urgent struggle against midlife decline, while in Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare portrays two characters in midlife crisis who attempt to redefine their identities by memorializing their former status and power, now lost. Drawing on Erik Erikson's theory of generativity -- a midlife shift from advancing one's own career to aiding a younger generation -- Zender explores the difficulties Shakespeare's characters face as they transfer power and authority to their children and others in the next generation. Paying careful attention to the plays' moral and ethical implications, he demonstrates how Shakespeare's innovative depiction of the midlife experience focuses on internal psychological understanding rather than external actions such as ceremony and ritual.
Illuminating and engaging, Shakespeare, Midlife, and Generativity offers a fresh analysis of several of Shakespeare's most important plays and explores a profound, centuries-old perspective on the challenges inherent in middle age.
(The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare, 9789380914831)
William Shakespeare, the most celebrated poet in the English language, left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself. His Shakespeare is like no one else's—the beneficiary of Bryson's genial nature, his engaging skepticism, and a gift for storytelling unrivaled in our time.