No Magic In William Shakespeare’s Words

787 words - 3 pages

No Magic in Shakespeare’s Words

A good work of fiction is greater than the sum of words the author invested in it. Shakespeare is a "great" playwright because his plays bear the load of much speculation and creativity from all its interpreters, not because he thought of every possible last detail and symbol and elucidated it clearly.

The collaborative flexibility of a play is especially valuable to plays that predate the emphasis on originality and copyright that became more important to writing in the 18th century as authors like Coleridge and the other Romantics began to extol the virtues of imagination and personal creativity. In Shakespeare’s time, one’s work was not one’s own. When a work was sold to a publisher, it belonged to the publisher to be edited and altered how he chose. When writing for a theatre, like Shakespeare, the play was fair game for anyone in the company to edit and "fix." An acting company bought the play just as a publisher would. Plays were also frequently written in teams for speed, since in the late 1580’s and early 1590’s when Shakespeare was starting out, the canon of English drama was less than a decade old, all plays were premiere plays, with new ones being introduced every fortnight.

Alterations were made constantly, as overworked actors added or transposed lines from others of the twenty roles they were performing at the same time, scenes were added to allow time for costume changes, or the censors required line or plot changes. The author, or one of the authors who each had written an act or parceled out scenes from the outlines play, or perhaps one of the actors or another playwright was on hand during the rehearsal process to make emendations to the play.

The second half of Shakespeare’s career was marked by increased control over his own work, not so much because of changes in the author-system (although Shakespeare was part of the changes toward author recognition that also began in the early 17th century), but because Shakespeare became a "sharer" in the King’s Men in 1594 (McMillin, 234).

Two centuries of subsequent editors all helped "improve" Shakespeare as well, until the push toward preserving the most authentic works of the original author began in the 18th century. The first folio of Shakespeare’s works was released in 1623, which helped to cement the plays’ authenticity somewhat. However, even the first folio was based only on old promptbooks and actors’ memories. From there,...

Find Another Essay On No Magic in William Shakespeare’s Words

Role Reversal in William Shakespeare’s Play Macbeth

1341 words - 5 pages William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth has a few main themes, one of which is role reversal. Macbeth is portrayed as a strong, fierce, and trustworthy soldier. At this stage in the story he had a conscience, and had a boundary between good and bad. However, Lady Macbeth is depicted as a devious and an extreme organizer, without a good sense of what is right and wrong. She would do anything in order to obtain supreme authority. Gradually they both

The Role of Iago in William Shakespeare’s Othello

1637 words - 7 pages The Role of Iago in William Shakespeare’s Othello As in any Shakespearean tragedy, there are opposing forces that bring about the tragic ending. William Shakespeare’s play Othello would not be one without an evil catalyst named Iago. He is a standard-bearer, or an “ancient” to the tragic hero Othello, who was a Moorish general in a Venetian army. In the play, Iago is the Satanic figure in whatever the word "evil" connotes. The word “evil

Slavery and Freedom in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest

2034 words - 8 pages Slavery and Freedom in William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” The subtly comedic interactions and juxtapositions between masters and slaves in William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” generate a question which has been the source of much controversy throughout history: are the hierarchical classifications “slave” and “free” reflections of a person’s fundamental nature, or are they social constructions based on bias and self-interest which have

Words and Spectacle in Shakespeare’s "Titus Andronicus" and Julie Taymore’s "Titus"

2481 words - 10 pages trampling those who oppose its traditions. As Titus reprises when he speaks to Lucius – ‘Rome affords no prey but me and mine.’ Once again, in this scene the words of the actors are merely the support where as the visual significance plays the higher part to convey the spectacle; the striking and the impressive. The relationship between words and spectacle are treated different between Shakespeare’s play and Taymore’s film adaptation. In

The Men of Rule in William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

1380 words - 6 pages In William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” two worlds are contrasted throughout the play. The Athenian state is governed by order, law, and reason; the forest or Fairy world lies within the realm of the imagination where anything is possible. While both worlds run parallel in the play, their inhabitants are influenced by one another. Their rulers, Theseus and Oberon, play critical roles in the events of the story. Theseus acts

The Character of Rosalind in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It

2741 words - 11 pages The Character of Rosalind in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It   The title of William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy As You Like It, is indicative of the maladjusted perceptions of the characters in the play. Each character in one way or another holds true to off-base viewpoints regarding relationships concerned with love that stir up conflict and strife amongst the characters. This disharmony that plagues the play is only ultimately

An Analysis between the Father and his Son in William Shakespeare’s Henry IV

1342 words - 5 pages ready for the black belt, then he will reject him. It takes a long time to gain the “sensei’s” trust and achieve his high expectations (“martial art.”) Just like the relationship of the sensei and trainee, in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1 Hal tries to gain his father’s trust so he can become prince once and for all. However, the king sees Hal as a dishonoured child that is misled by the darkness of the tavern. Of course, Hal shows his father how

An Analysis of Symbolism between a Father and his Son in William Shakespeare’s Play

1335 words - 5 pages certainly imitated the symbol of the sun by showing power and ability towards others no matter who they represent and to stand by their decisions and not to think twice. The moon glows in the darkness just as Hals presence is easily noticed in the tavern by the villagers and his acquaintances. First, Hal distinguishes his plan in the beginning and tries to convey everyone that he is a corrupt person that does not deserve to become prince. After that

No Regrets: An Examination of Static Morality and the Disruption of Normal Order in the History Plays of William Shakespeare

2368 words - 9 pages In a scholarly journal article authored by Robert Y. Turner the writer notes that "the major figures in [William Shakespeare's] Henry VI undergo no moral change of character" (241). In the series of plays these major figures, all of whom are nobilities, serve as archetypal representatives of the disorder that disrupts the normal order of the noble society. In his article Turner refers to a host of characters possessing stagnant moralities and

The Christian Influence. Puritan influence on Native Americans in history with William Apess as prime example. No Work Cited page is included; has in-text citations and is written in MLA format.

1127 words - 5 pages writer is Mr. William Apes, who later changed his name to William Apess, who was the first Native American to publish an autobiography, and later wrote several books between 1829 and 1836.One-quarter white, three-quarters Native American of the Pequots in Connecticut, Apess was born in 1798. After 1838 there was no documentation of his presence recorded, so it is surmised that he probably left the country. Although there is no documentation of his

The Power of Magic in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

1893 words - 8 pages In William Shakespeare’s book, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, magic is a powerful and useful tool for the characters that have the capability to use it. Some of the characters abuse the power of magic, while others are more responsible in how they use it. Oberon is one the characters that abuses the power of magic. Oberon’s magic has an immense impact on the plot of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. More specifically, Oberon’s magic affects his own

Similar Essays

Black Magic Vs. White Magic In Shakespeare’s The Tempest

585 words - 2 pages Black Magic vs. White Magic in Shakespeare’s The Tempest “A man who governs his passions is “truly wise”…. The heavens have not seen nor has the earth borne a more glorious person than the man who always obeys reason. Not all the crowns of the world can adorn his head fittingly; only eternity can recompense one of such high virtue. To have a quiet soul is the only pleasure of the world” (Anderson 173-4). Where is the line drawn

Women In William Shakespeare’s Plays Essay

2556 words - 10 pages speed, to post With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! It is not, not it cannot come to good. (I.ii.152-158)  Of course, one has to wonder also if he is experiencing some jealousy at her new marriage. Shakespeare’s male characters see no gray when it comes to women so they are either good or bad.  “Jealous men in Shakespeare’s play have difficulty seeing women as something between these two extremes; if they are not perfect they must be

Polonius In William Shakespeare’s, Hamlet Essay

666 words - 3 pages In William Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, the author brings to life, a story of revenge, betrayal, love, hate and friendship. Polonius, although seen as a conniving old man, deeply loves his children. Polonius is constantly giving his children the sound advice that we would give our own children. He is only looking out for the best interest of his children, although not always seen that way. He is viewed as the bad guy, only because Hamlet is the good

Tough Love In William Shakespeare’s Play, Othello

1236 words - 5 pages In William Shakespeare’s tragic play, Othello, Desdemona asserts, “‘wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?’” (4.3.76). During a friendly banter, Desdemona asks Emilia this very question; would she cheat on her husband to help him become monarch and have power over all the world? She quietly replies that she would only in secret, but only for her husband’s own good. This question plays an essential role throughout Othello because Emilia