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A Theatergoers Guide To Shakespeare
A Theatergoers Guide To Shakespeare
 
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Author : Robert Thomas Fallon
Publisher : Ivan R Dee
ISBN# : 9781566635080
Pages : 496
Price :INR 1144
Offer Price:INR 1018
 
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Book Description

An intelligent introduction to the wondrous works of William Shakespeare.

Stephen Drukman, American Theater - Steven Drukman

A Theatergoer s Guide provides an act-by-act sequence of events that is distilled without being dunderheaded.... Reader-friendly in the extreme, the book elucidates elusive allusions, provides historical contexts and even offers a brief (albeit tentative) critical assessment for every play.

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Table Of Contents:

Acknowledgmentsv Prologueix THE TRAGEDIES Tragedy5 King Lear9 Hamlet32 Macbeth59 Othello79 Romeo and Juliet104 Julius Caesar121 Antony and Cleopatra138 THE LESS FREQUENTLY STAGED TRAGEDIES Titus Andronicus160 Coriolanus164 Timon of Athens168 THE COMEDIES Comedy175 The Merchant of Venice (A Tragic Comedy)179 As You Like It199 Twelfth Night or What You Will217 Much Ado About Nothing234 A Midsummer Nights Dream248 The Taming of the Shrew262 The Tempest (A Romance)279 The Merry Wives of Windsor297 The Comedyof Errors308 THE LESS FREQUENTLY STAGED COMEDIES The Two Gentlemen of Verona316 Loves Labours Lost319 Troilus and Cressida323 Alls Well That Ends Well328 Measure for Measure332 The Winters Tale336 Pericles, Prince of Tyre340 Cymbeline344 The Two Noble Kinsmen349 THE HISTORIES History355 Richard II359 Henry IV, Part 1375 Henry IV, Part 2394 Henry V397 Henry VI, Parts 1, 2, 3419 Richard III426 THE LESS FREQUENTLY STAGED HISTORIES King John448 Henry VIII452 Appendix: Words and Phrases Index

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Chapter One


TRAGEDY


* * *


THE WORDS "tragic" and "tragedy" will appear in this discussion frequently enough to raise a question as to what they mean. Probably the most useful definition for those who wonder why Shakespeares plays work so well on the stage was written 2,500 years ago by the Greek philosopher Aristotle. The ancient Greeks were great playgoers, so much so that they held festivals in which prizes were awarded for the best group of plays produced; and they must have sat through scores of productions during the weeks of the contest. Aristotle examined the prizewinners to discover if they had features in common that contributed to their success, and he described his findings in a brief work, Of Poetics, which is so packed with insight that it is thought to be a set of notes he prepared for a series of lectures. Generations of scholars have expanded on those notes, speculating on just what he might have said in the lectures themselves.

The question of the Poetics—why do some plays work and others fail?—is not an easy one to answer. Every year artists who have toiled in the theater for decades troop to Broadway to mount plays that all who are concerned with the enterprise—the producer, playwright, director, and actors alike—are convinced will have a long run to enthusiastic critical acclaim, only to find that they must close after three performances for lack of an audience. Famous Hollywood producers pour millions into films, confident of their appeal, and are dismayed when the public stays awayindroves while some unknown director fills theaters with a film made on a shoestring. Its a mystery, really, and always has been. Aristotle tried to unravel it by dissecting the prizewinners to determine why they worked.

Aristotles explanation of what makes a play work is somewhat out of favor today. It is said, among other things, that he laid too heavy an emphasis on plot—and so indeed he did. But it is his few incisive paragraphs on character that are so valuable to our appreciation of Shakespeares tragedies; and it is to those paragraphs that we turn, seeking some firm ground on which to stand in our encounters with the puzzling figures of these plays.

Aristotle begins by making distinctions, in the manner of p

 
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