Рефераты. William Shakeseare

corrections from another authorial version of the play.

The plays published for the first time in the First Folio of 1623 are:

All's Well That Ends Well From the author's fair papers, or a transcript

of them.

Antony and Cleopatra From an authorial fair copy.

Henry VI, Part 1

As You Like It From a promptbook, or a transcript of it.

The Comedy of Errors From foul papers.

Coriolanus From an authorial fair copy, edited for the printer.

Cymbeline From an authorial copy, or a transcript of such, imperfectly

prepared as a promptbook.

Henry VIII From a transcript of a fair copy, made by the author, prepared

for reading.

Julius Caesar From a transcript of a promptbook.

King John From an authorial fair copy.

Macbeth From a promptbook of a version prepared for court performance.

Measure for Measure From a transcript, by Ralph Crane, of very imperfect

foul papers.

The Taming of the Shrew From foul papers.

The Tempest From an edited transcript, by Ralph Crane, of the author's


Timon of Athens From foul papers, probably unfinished.

Twelfth Night From a promptbook, or a transcript of it.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona From a transcript, by Ralph Crane, of a

promptbook, probably of a shortened version.

The Winter's Tale From a transcript, by Ralph Crane, probably from the

author's fair copy.

The texts of Venus and Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594) are

remarkably free from errors. Shakespeare presumably furnished a fair copy

of each for the printer. He also seems to have read the proofs. The

sonnets were published in 1609, but there is no evidence that Shakespeare

oversaw their publication.


The early poems

Shakespeare dedicated the poem Venus and Adonis to his patron, Henry

Wriothesley, 3rd earl of Southampton, whom he further promised to honour

with "some graver labour"--perhaps The Rape of Lucrece, which appeared a

year later and was also dedicated to Southampton. As these two poems were

something on which Shakespeare was intending to base his reputation with

the public and to establish himself with his patron, they were displays

of his virtuosity--diploma pieces. They were certainly the most popular

of his writings with the reading public and impressed them with his

poetic genius. Seven editions of Venus and Adonis had appeared by 1602

and 16 by 1640; Lucrece, a more serious poem, went through eight editions

by 1640; and there are numerous allusions to them in the literature of

the time. But after that, until the 19th century, they were little

regarded. Even then the critics did not know what to make of them: on the

one hand, Venus and Adonis is licentiously erotic (though its sensuality

is often rather comic); while Lucrece may seem to be tragic enough, the

treatment of the poem is yet somewhat cold and distant. In both cases the

poet seems to be displaying dexterity rather than being "sincere." But

Shakespeare's detachment from his subjects has come to be admired in more

recent assessments.

Above all, the poems give evidence for the growth of Shakespeare's

imagination. Venus and Adonis is full of vivid imagery of the

countryside; birds, beasts, the hunt, the sky, and the weather, the

overflowing Avon--these give freshness to the poem and contrast strangely

with the sensuous love scenes. Lucrece is more rhetorical and elaborate

than Venus and Adonis and also aims higher. Its disquisitions (upon

night, time, opportunity, and lust, for example) anticipate brilliant

speeches on general themes in the plays--on mercy in The Merchant of

Venice, suicide in Hamlet, and "degree" in Troilus and Cressida.

There are a few other poems attributed to Shakespeare. When the Sonnets

were printed in 1609, a 329-line poem, "A Lovers complaint," was added at

the end of the volume, plainly ascribed by the publisher to Shakespeare.

There has been a good deal of discussion about the authorship of this

poem. Only the evidence of style, however, could call into question the

publisher's ascription, and this is conflicting. Parts of the poem and

some lines are brilliant, but other parts seem poor in a way that is not

like Shakespeare's careless writing. Its narrative structure is

remarkable, however, and the poem deserves more attention than it usually

receives. It is now generally thought to be from Shakespeare's pen,

possibly an early poem revised by him at a more mature stage of his

poetical style. Whether the poem in its extant form is later or earlier

than Venus and Adonis and Lucrece cannot be decided. No one could doubt

the authenticity of "The Phoenix and the Turtle," a 67-line poem that

appeared with other "poetical essays" (by John Marston, George Chapman,

and Ben Jonson) appended to Robert Chester's poem Loves Martyr in 1601.

The poem is attractive and memorable, but very obscure, partly because of

its style and partly because it contains allusions to real persons and

situations whose identity can now only be guessed at.

The sonnets

In 1609 appeared SHAKESPEARES SONNETS. Never before Imprinted. At this

date Shakespeare was already a successful author, a country gentleman,

and an affluent member of the most important theatrical enterprise in

London. How long before 1609 the sonnets were written is unknown. The

phrase "never before imprinted" may imply that they had existed for some

time but were now at last printed. Two of them (nos. 138 and 144) had in

fact already appeared (in a slightly different form) in an anthology, The

Passionate Pilgrime (1599). Shakespeare had certainly written some

sonnets by 1598, for in that year Francis Meres, in a "survey" of

literature, made reference to "his sugared sonnets among his private

friends," but whether these "sugared sonnets" were those eventually

published in 1609 cannot be ascertained--Shakespeare may have written

other sets of sonnets, now lost. Nevertheless, the sonnets included in

The Passionate Pilgrime are among his most striking and mature, so it is

likely that most of the 154 sonnets that appeared in the 1609 printing

belong to Shakespeare's early 30s rather than to his 40s--to the time

when he was writing Richard II and Romeo and Juliet rather than when he

was writing King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra. But, of course, some of

them may belong to any year of Shakespeare's life as a poet before 1609.

The early plays

Although the record of Shakespeare's early theatrical success is obscure,

clearly the newcomer soon made himself felt. His brilliant two-part play

on the Wars of the Roses, The Whole Contention between the two Famous

Houses, Lancaster and Yorke, was among his earliest achievements. He

showed, in The Comedy of Errors, how hilariously comic situations could

be shot through with wonder and sentiment. In Titus Andronicus he scored

a popular success with tragedy in the high Roman fashion. The Two

Gentlemen of Verona was a new kind of romantic comedy. The world has

never ceased to enjoy The Taming of the Shrew. Love’s Labour’s Lost is an

experiment in witty and satirical observation of society. Romeo and

Juliet combines and interconnects a tragic situation with comedy and

gaiety. All this represents the probable achievement of Shakespeare's

first half-dozen years as a writer for the London stage, perhaps by the

time he had reached 30. It shows astonishing versatility and originality.

The histories

For his plays on subjects from English history, Shakespeare primarily

drew upon Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles, which appeared in 1587, and on

Edward Hall's earlier account of The union of the two noble and illustre

famelies of Lancastre and York (1548). From these and numerous secondary

sources he inherited traditional themes: the divine right of royal

succession, the need for unity and order in the realm, the evil of

dissension and treason, the cruelty and hardship of war, the power of

money to corrupt, the strength of family ties, the need for human

understanding and careful calculation, and the power of God's providence,

which protected his followers, punished evil, and led England toward the

stability of Tudor rule.

The Roman plays

After the last group of English history plays, Shakespeare chose to write

about Julius Caesar, who held particular fascination for the

Elizabethans. Then, for six or seven years Shakespeare did not return to

a Roman theme, but, after completing Macbeth and King Lear, he again used

Thomas North's translation of Plutarch as a source for two more Roman

plays, Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus, both tragedies that seem as

much concerned to depict the broad context of history as to present

tragic heroes.

The "great," or "middle," comedies

The comedies written between 1596 and 1602 have much in common and are as

well considered together as individually. With the exception of The Merry

Wives of Windsor, all are set in some "imaginary" country. Whether called

Illyria, Messina, Venice and Belmont, Athens, or the Forest of Arden, the

sun shines as the dramatist wills. A lioness, snakes, magic caskets,

fairy spells, identical twins, disguise of sex, the sudden conversion of

a tyrannous duke or the defeat offstage of a treacherous brother can all

change the course of the plot and bring the characters to a conclusion in

which almost all are happy and just deserts are found. Lovers are young

and witty and almost always rich. The action concerns wooing; and its

conclusion is marriage, beyond which the audience is scarcely concerned.

Whether Shakespeare's source was an Italian novel (The Merchant of Venice

and Much Ado About Nothing), an English pastoral tale (As You Like It),

an Italian comedy (the Malvolio story in Twelfth Night), or something of

his own invention (probably A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and parts of

each), always in his hands story and sentiments are instinct with

idealism and capable of magic transformations.

In some ways these are intellectual plays. Each comedy has a multiple

plot and moves from one set of characters to another, between whom

Shakespeare invites his audience to seek connections and explanations.

Despite very different classes of people (or immortals) in different

strands of the narrative, the plays are unified by Shakespeare's

idealistic vision and by an implicit judgment of human relationships, and

all their characters are brought together--with certain significant

exceptions--at, or near, the end.

The great tragedies

It is a usual and reasonable opinion that Shakespeare's greatness is

nowhere more visible than in the series of tragedies--Hamlet, Othello,

King Lear and Macbeth. Julius Caesar, which was written before these, and

Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus, which were written after, have many

links with the four. But, because of their rather strict relationship

with the historical materials, they are best dealt with in a group by

themselves. Timon of Athens, probably written after the above-named seven

plays, shows signs of having been unfinished or abandoned by Shakespeare.

It has its own splendours but has rarely been considered equal in

achievement to the other tragedies of Shakespeare's maturity.

The "dark" comedies

Before the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603 the country was ill at

ease: the House of Commons became more outspoken about monopolies and

royal prerogative, and uncertainty about the succession to the throne

made the future of the realm unsettled. In 1603 the Plague again struck

London, closing the theatres. In 1601 Shakespeare's patron, the Earl of

Southampton, was arrested on charges of treason; he was subsequently

released, but such scares did not betoken confidence in the new reign.

About Shakespeare's private reaction to these events there can be only

speculation, but three of the five plays usually assigned to these

years—Troilus and Cressida,, All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for

Measure, --have become known as "dark" comedies for their distempered

vision of the world. Only during the 20th century have these plays been

frequently performed in anything like Shakespeare's texts, an indication

that their questioning, satiric, intense, and shifting comedy could not

please earlier audiences.

The late plays

Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest and Henry VIII,

written between 1608 and 1612, are commonly known as Shakespeare's "late

plays," or his "last plays," and sometimes, with reference to their

tragicomic form, they are called his "romances." Works written by an

author in his 40s hardly deserve to be classified as "late" in any

critical sense, yet these plays are often discussed as if they had been

written by a venerable old author, tottering on the edge of a well-earned

grave. On the contrary, Shakespeare must have believed that plenty of

writing years lay before him, and indeed the theatrical effectiveness and

experimental nature of Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest in

particular make them very unlike the fatigued work of a writer about to

break his staff and drown his book.

The contribution of textual criticism

The early editors of Shakespeare saw their task chiefly as one of

correction and regularization of the faulty printing and imperfect texts

of the original editions or their reprints. Many changes in the text of

the quartos and folios that are now accepted derive from Nicholas Rowe

(1709) and Alexander Pope (1723-25), but these editors also introduced

many thousands of small changes that have since been rejected. Later in

the 18th century, editors compiled collations of alternative and rejected

readings. Samuel Johnson (1765), Edward Capell (1767-68), and Edmund

Malone (1790) were notable pioneers. Their work reached its most

comprehensive form in the Cambridge edition in nine volumes by W.G.

Clark, J. Glover, and W.A. Wright, published in 1863-66. A famous one-

volume Globe edition of 1864 was based on this Cambridge text.

Romeo and Juliet

play by William Shakespeare, performed about 1594-95 and first published

in a "bad" quarto in 1597. The characters of Romeo and Juliet have been

depicted in literature, music, dance, and theatre. The appeal of the

young hero and heroine--whose families, the Montagues and Capulets,

respectively, are implacable enemies--is such that they have become, in

the popular imagination, the representative type of star-crossed lovers.

Shakespeare's principal source for the plot was The Tragicall Historye of

Romeus and Juliet (1562), a long narrative poem by the English poet

Arthur Broke (d. 1563). Broke had based his poem on a French translation

of a tale by the Italian Matteo Bandello (1485-1561).

Shakespeare set the scene in Verona, Italy, during July. Juliet and Romeo

meet and fall instantly in love at a masked ball of the Capulets and

profess their love when Romeo later visits her at her private balcony in

her family's home. Because the two noble families are enemies, the couple

is married secretly by Friar Laurence. When Tybald, a Capulet, kills

Romeo's friend Mercutio in a quarrel, Romeo kills Tybalt and is banished

to Mantua. Juliet's father insists on her marrying Count Paris, and

Juliet goes to consult the friar. He gives her a potion that will make

her appear to be dead and proposes that she take it and that Romeo rescue

her; she complies. Unaware of the friar's scheme, Romeo returns to Verona

on hearing of Juliet's apparent death. He encounters Paris, kills him,

and finds Juliet in the burial vault. There he gives her a last kiss and

kills himself with poison. Juliet awakens, sees the dead Romeo, and kills

herself. The families learn what has happened and end their feud.

The most complex of Shakespeare's early plays, Romeo and Juliet is far

more than "a play of young love" or "the world's typical love-tragedy."

Weaving together a large number of related impressions and judgments, it

is as much about hate as love. It tells of a family and its home as well

as a feud and a tragic marriage. The public life of Verona and the

private lives of the Veronese make up the setting for the love of Juliet

and Romeo and provide the background against which their love can be

assessed. It is not the deaths of the lovers that conclude the play but

the public revelation of what has happened, with the admonitions of the

Prince and the reconciliation of the two families.

Shakespeare enriched an already old story by surrounding the guileless

mutual passion of Romeo and Juliet with the mature bawdry of the other

characters--the Capulet servants Sampson and Gregory open the play with

their fantasies of exploits with the Montague women; the tongues of the

Nurse and Mercutio are seldom free from sexual matters--but the innocence

of the lovers is unimpaired.

Romeo and Juliet made a strong impression on contemporary audiences. It

was also one of Shakespeare's first plays to be pirated; a very bad text

appeared in 1597. Detestable though it is, this version does derive from

a performance of the play, and a good deal of what was seen on stage was

recorded. Two years later another version of the play appeared, issued by

a different, more respectable publisher, and this is essentially the play

known today, for the printer was working from a manuscript fairly close

to Shakespeare's own. Yet in neither edition did Shakespeare's name

appear on the title page, and it was only with the publication of Love's

Labour's Lost in 1598 that publishers had come to feel that the name of

Shakespeare as a dramatist, as well as the public esteem of the company

of actors to which he belonged, could make an impression on potential

purchasers of playbooks.


WALTER EBISCH and LEVIN L. SCHЬCKING, A Shakespeare Bibliography (1931,

reprinted 1968), and a supplement for the years 1930-35 (1937, reissued

1968), are comprehensive. They are updated by GORDON ROSS SMITH, A

Classified Shakespeare Bibliography, 1936-1958 (1963). JAMES G.

McMANAWAY, A Selective Bibliography of Shakespeare: Editions, Textual

Studies, Commentary (1975), covers more than 4,500 items published

between 1930 and 1970, mainly in English. LARRY S. CHAMPION, The

Essential Shakespeare: An Annotated Bibliography of Major Modern Studies,

2nd ed. (1993), includes works in English published from 1900 through

1984. STANLEY WELLS (ed.), Shakespeare, new ed. (1990), provides

bibliographies on topics ranging from the poet to the text to the

performances. Shakespeare Quarterly publishes an annual classified

bibliography. Shakespeare Survey (quarterly) publishes annual accounts of

"Contributions to Shakespearian Study," as well as retrospective articles

on work done on particular aspects. A selection of important scholarly

essays published during the previous year is collected in Shakespearean

Criticism (annual).

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