The many layers of shakespeare

The many layers of shakespeare - 6 December 2007 Professor...

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6 December 2007 Professor Mike Preston ENG 3563 The Many Layers of Shakespeare Peter Saccio, a scholar of Shakespeare and professor at Dartmouth College deems the collection of plays Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream as part of the period of “early mastery” for William Shakespeare. Shakespeare effectively captures the realms of private paradise and public confrontation. The skillful application of Shakespeare’s language divides the layers of the play into different realms that further separate and develop the plot of the play. The division of private love and public confrontation is extremely prevalent within the play of Romeo and Juliet as Shakespeare’s prose establishes an ideal world of love within a world of violence. A Midsummer Night’s Dream juxtaposes the worlds of the authoritative court and the fantastic realm of the lovers in the forest. Furthermore, the historical plays Henry IV and Richard II capture dualistic realms of power in public and private confrontation. These plays are considered part of William’s “early mastery” as they were written around the same time as Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (wikipedia.org). The language presented in Richard II creates a public and private confrontation in King Richard’s power struggles intrinsically and extrinsically. King Richard expresses many different facets of power in the public and private realms through his own prose throughout the play. Shakespeare creates two different physical spaces divided by language and physicality divisions in Henry IV . The language separates Prince Hal from
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his company and presents his true motives despite his exterior appearance. The physical aspects of the play separate the moral forces of good and evil represented by King Henry and Jack Falstaff. Romeo and Juliet is a play structured around action with the lovers blissful world embedded within the plot. The violence juxtaposes the lovers action creating a suspenseful balance and providing more substance to the lovers wordplay. The public realm is filled with violence from the beginning when the Montague and Capulet houses are described as two households, “where civil blood makes civil hands unclean” (Prologue, 4). The two houses are described as feuding houses and this description unfolds into action as Tybalt and Benvolio proceed to exchange quarrelsome words in the following scene. Tybalt says to Benvolio, “As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee / Have at thee coward” (I, i, 71-72) and the fighting begins. The language of the play is full of imagery of lightning, storms and fire that contribute to violence and love. Before the confrontation between Mercutio and Tybalt, Benvolio advises Mercutio “I pray thee, good Mercutio, let’s retire. / the day is hot, the Capels [are] abroad, / And if we meet we shall not scape a brawl, / For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring” (III, i, 1-4).
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