I understand part of the play as the words rail at me from the page as vehemently as Lear rails at the heavens. Yet there is an aura of ambiguity that leaves the faintest trace of the text's essential truth, one that is alternately shrouded and then unveiled in the play's language. Despite my interpretive performance anxiety, reading the play is not futile. Meaning can be derived from Shakespeare's text, but it means looking past the obvious. When King Lear's characters say "nothing" over and over, neither they nor Shakespeare himself really mean nothing, for in King Lear, every word drips with significance.
Ed. Sutherland, J.R. 1990. Mikhail M. Morozor, The Individualization of Shakespeare's Characters through Imagery", Shakespeare Survey. 1989. "Tempest & Court Masques" By H. C. Sherwood
The Tempest is not one of these works. This story realizes that it is impossible to have the good aspect of human nature without the bad. Caliban helps the reader realize that the difference between good and bad people is the way in which the hidden dark side manifests itself to the outside world. Ostensibly, The Tempest is a play based around Prospero: his power to punish versus his power to forgive. ?Many scholars believe that this is a semi-autobiographical work, written towards the end of Shakespeare's literary career?
Yet, the rules that govern both his world and ours, the sobriety of realism, do not ensure that things work out the way that one would hope. Olivia’s household is the common setting for all comedic plays, a land of unlikely possibilities; Orsino’s household is the audience itself, stuck in a reality where things are not as interesting or entertaining, and where happy endings seem farther out of
Therefor to have a comedy of complete lightheartedness there would be no balance and hence no avenue for audience interaction. Without light we would have no darkness and for this reason Shakespeare has had to incorporate tragedy in order for the comedy to have it’s desired effect. The two in juxtaposition accentuate each other. The characters of Twelfth Night are neither bluntly humorous nor artlessly tragic. Twelfth Night like all Shakespearean comedies is largely about social concerns.
Shakespeare uses the problems of illusion, deception and subjectivity of perception to examine the Elizabethan patriarchy, and he shows how adhering to convention can distort the views of society’s leaders. Plot development and comedy in Much Ado rely heavily on the use of noting. The play appears to have a simple plot; the romantic couple, Claudio and Hero, are denied marital joy by the evil Don John while the sub-plot, Beatrice’s and Benedick’s resisted but growing love, provides us with some humour until order and happiness are re-established in Messina. However, Shakespeare cleverly employs the many forms of noting (observation, misunderstanding, misreporting) to move the dramatic action forward. The main plot and the sub-plots are laced together with this device and, to emphasise the importance of noting, the audience is denied viewing the vital episode where Claudio and Don Pedro witness what they think is Hero’s debauchery – we observe the watch eavesdropping on Borachio recounting the event to Conrade.
Shakespeare does not just mention nothingness and its paradoxes but also gives them a central and complex role in the movement of the plot. In the structure of the play nothingness emerges as an omnipresent metaphysical threat and flawed conception of “nothingness” blinds King Lear and Gloucester to the reality of the world they live in and eventually brings about their tragic end. The dramatic value of King Lear’s philosophical flaw about the concept of nothingness is evident in the first scene of the play where Lear begins to diminish himself by taking off his crown. Goneril and Regan take on a rhetoric contest, as they must try to express the greatest possible love for their father in order to receive the largest part of the kingdom. They respond by presenting their love with paradoxes of non-being -- saying what their love is not, rather than what it is -- to suggest the illusion of unbounded love for Lear, exploiting his blindness to the fact that their hyperbolic language full of comparisons and superlatives (“Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty” 1.1.62) actually mean nothing.
William Shakespeare’s infamous Tragedy of King Lear is as much about political authority as family dynamic. Although regarded as one of the most emotionally difficult, and portrays a world lacking of love, in which humanity is detached from any spiritual, higher being, there is still glimmers of goodness that can be discovered. While other discussions of King Lear focus on the bleakness and despair of the environment as well as the characters, especially Lear, it is arguable that this play is not an exemplification of a work lacking in morals, but of the reenchantment of charity, especially forgiveness as a pushback against the violence. Through this reading, a considerable amount of credit is given to Cordelia, and the powerful emotional impact she provides. The setting of King Lear is one spoiled with materialism, and is portrayed clearly within the first scene.
The setting of Much Ado about Nothing is also bigger than its physical realm; Shakespeare chooses to start the play in this tranquil setting to emphasise that pastoral will be an important theme in this play. Shakespeare uses the idea of ‘the pastoral’ to create different spaces in which comedy can take place. This allows for a controlled chaos and means the characters feel free to escape the restraints of social conventions. Shakespeare suggests that the setting in which the characters stand effects their beliefs and how they act towards each other. For example being ‘within nature’, i.e.
As isolated as the island of The Tempest may be, its characters are representative of people in our own society. The social disorder in which they find themselves becomes an exploration of their aspirations – some have unique ideas about a perfect way of life, while others are merely products of a hegemony of political clambering in the imperfect society from which they come. Shakespeare’s last play, The Tempest is more than an artist’s farewell; it explores the endless possibility of our minds and our endeavours, as mankind enters a “brave new world”. Works Cited: Shakespeare, William. The Tempest.