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Shakespeare's Late Plays Tragicomedy And Romances Notes

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ROMANCE,

LATE

PLAYS,

TRAGICOMEDY


SHAKESPEARE


= End

of

career

1610

after

30

plays


= After

1599

became

interested

in

tragedies

/

mixing

genres

e.g

earlier

comedies

have

darker


potentially

tragic

themes

and

endings

are

less

happy


= He

enlarged

ideas

the

audience

might

be

exposed

to

in

series

of

philosophical

romances

-


Cymbeline,

The

Winter's

Tale,

The

Tempest


JAMES

AS

NEW

KING


= 1603

James

1

came

to

throne

after

5

years

of

parliamentary

debate

-

no

surprise

its

arrival


found

itself

so

well

explored

upn

the

stage


= Decline

of

revenge

tragedy

+

replacement

of

one

regeneration

through

love,

mercy

+


forgiveness

occurred

in

first

decade

of

James

reign


= REVEL'S

OFFICE

?

used

to

ensure

that

such

expression

as

was

given

in

plays

was

kept

brouadly


in

line

with

gov.

policy

=

such

matters

were

of

interest

to

KJ

is

proved

by

his

attitude

both

to


performance

+

publication

of

Chapman's

Biron

plays

+

his

termination

of

the

lease

of

the


Blackfriars

to

the

Children

of

the

Revels

in

1608


= Mutliple

instances

of

commissioning,

or

at

least

the

suggestion

of

themes

which

is

treated

on


stage

would

received

royal

approval.


o Hamlet

thought

it

natural

enough

to

ask

players

from

Wittenberg

to

put

on

a

play

for


his

own

ends


= At

the

same

time

S

is

composing

+

pondering

antithetical

contrast

between

either

tragic

/


tragicomic

treatment

of

KL,

James

himself

expressed

the

possibility

of

explicitly

contrast


between

the

two:


"The

Almight..will..

put

it

in

his

Magesties

heart

to

make

such

a

conclusion

of

this

tragedie

to

the


Traitors,

but

Tragicomdie

to

the

King

and

all

his

trew

subjects"


= THEREFORE

=

Origins

of

drift

towards

tragicomedy

can

be

seen

in

the

political

consciousness

of

the


British

peoples

saved

from

foreign

invasion

and

civil

war

by

the

peaceful

accession

of

James

I

in


1603,

by

the

timely

discovery

of

the

Gunpowder

Plot

in

1605,

and

the

final

ratifi--

cation

of

the

Union


of

the

two

Crowns

by

Act

of

Parliament

in

1608


= J

claimed

to

have

delivered

subjects

from

doubts

about

sucession

+

from

deep--rooted

feares

of

war,


foreign

+

domestic

-

brought

immediate

gift

of

peace

+

prospect

of

plenty

in

its

wake

-

merger

of


Scotland

+

England

offered

them

not

only

domestic

security

but

aggrandizement

abroad


o GREAT

BRITIAN

-

starts

to

be

used

from

this

point


FIRST

SPEECH

TO

PARLIAMENT

1604

:


"as

it

was

first

settled

and

united

in

him,

so

is

it

now

reunited

and

confirmed

in

me,

being

justly

and

lineally


descended

not

only

of

that

happy

conjuction,

bot

of

both

branches

thereof

many

times

before.

But

the


Union

of

these

two

princely

houses

is

nothing

comparable

to

the

Union

of

two

ancienn

and

famous


kingdoms,

which

is

the

other

inward

peace

annexed

to

my

Person"


= Gave

poets

+

playwrights

cue

that

they

needed

to

provide

British

people

with

a

messianic

vision


eclipsing

that

which

their

predecessors

had

chosen

to

associate

with

the

House

of

Tudor

which


opened

the

way

to

the

vogue

of

tradi--comedy

at

court

+

in

private

theatre.


= His

projetion

of

peace

provided

poets

with

three

key

images


o 1)

"I

am

Husband

and

the

whole

isle

is

my

lawful

wife

(Winter's

Tale)


o 2)

"

I

am

the

Head

and

it

is

my

body"

-

(Coriolanus)

3)

"I

am

the

Shepherd

and

it

is

all

my

Flocke"

(Winter's

Tale)

1603 =Daniels'

"Panygericke

Congratulatory

"(1603)

1604 =

Jonson,

Dekker

+

Middleton

+

Webster

prepared

a

spectacular

pagent

for

James'

arrival

in


London

on

themes

of

Peace,

Plenty

+

regenerative

Power

1605 Anthony

Munday

deployed

same

story

both

at

greater

length

+

more

graphically

in

popular


iconography

for

the

firs

tLord

Mayor's

Show

of

the

new

reign

-

"The

Triumph's

of

Reunied

Britanio


GUN

POWER

PLOT

=

J

said

"three

wonderful,

or

rather

miraculous

events"


o The

cruelty

of

the

plot

itself,

to

kill

not

only

the

king

but

his

wife

and

whole

state

in

general


o Fact

that

the

conspirators

were

unknown

to

James,

nor

were

they

victims

of

some

injustice

/


disgrace

for

which

they

could

seek

revenge,

only

motive

was

religion


o The

discovery

of

the

plot


Third

event

which

as

James

said

served

to

translate

"this

tragedy

to

the

traitors

into

Tragicomedy

to


the

King

and

all

his

trewe

subjects"


Immediate

response

of

dramatise

was

to

"the

tragedy

of

the

traitor"

=

Macheth

+

Jonson's

Cataline


o Fleance's

escape

becomes

much

more

than

a

generalized

compli--

ment

to

the

House

of


Stuart:

as

a

tangential

reference

to

James's

own

escape

and

that

of

the

Princess

Elizabeth


from

the

powder--treason,

the

whole

of

Macbeth

provides

a

useful

example

of

Shakespeare's


oblique

method

of

treating

topical

events.


o

=
=
=

=

=
=

Macbeth's

crime

in

murdering

Duncan

passes,

in

the

imagery

of

the

play's

language,


beyond

regicide

to

deicide,

and

that

Scotland,

like

Hell,

has

to

be

harrowed

before

it

can

be


cleansed

of

a

monster

comparable

with

Lucifer

and

Herod

in

his

tyrannical

ambition

and


depravity


GENRE

/

THEMES


= In

KL

=

antithesis

between

tragicomic

conclusion

of

the

old

play

+

the

tragic

conclusion

of

the


new

version

=

ambiguous

intentions


= History

+

story

of

KL

already

existed

in

Eliz

theatre

in

form

of

tragicomedy

yet

S

elected

to


transform

it

into

tragedy


= Still

wider

context

of

KL

=

stretches

back

to

Trojan

Brutus

+

division

of

kingdom

between

his


three

sons

+

forward

to

King

Gorboduc

who

repeated

this

folly

with

disastrous

results.


= ALL

THREE

linked

with

Merlin's

prophecies

of

a

2nd

Brutus

to

restore

in

the

fullness

of

time

to


return

to

New

Troy

+

reunite

the

kingdoms


= Figure

already

been

identified

in

James

by

Daniel,

Dekker

+

Munday

in

poems

+

pageants


before

Shakespeare

turned

his

attention

to

Lear

Story


= SEE

ALSO:


o Faerie

Queen

1590

contains

Cordelia,

who

dies

from

hanging

as

in

KL


o Higgin's

A

Mirror

for

Magistrates

1574


o The

Malcontent

by

Marston

(1604)


o Arcadia

(1580--90)

=

Gloucester

subplot


o Montaigies

Essays

(Trans.1603)


= Intriguing

that

S

retained

something

of

the

tragic--comic

quality

of

both

the

old

play

+

prophecy


in

reuniting

Lear

with

Cordelia,

only

to

dismiss

it

in

reverting

to

the

original

source

of

the

whole


story

?

Geoffrey

of

Monmouth's

Historia

Regun

Britannie

(1136c)

in

bringing

catastrophes

to


both

of

them


= When

KL

was

written,

James

had

3

children,

duke

of

Cornwall,

duke

of

Albany

+

Princess


Elizabeth

but

S

distances

these

correspondences

between

the

royal

family

and

his

characters


by

setting

play

in

an

pre

Christian

world

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