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Shakespeare And The ‘Tragedy’ Of The Renaissance

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Chapter Summary

This chapter outlines Shakespeare's plays may be read as a critique-in some respects as a damning critique-of the Renaissance culture in which, chronologically, the author is to be located. It looks at two plays Loves Labours lost and Troilus and Cressida in which Shakespeare anticipates the themes of this chapter, scrutinising the realities or myths associated with humanist learning and with Renaissance conceptions of heroism. In Cymbeline the author argues that , as in other of the late Romances, a continuity is asserted between Shakespeare's England and an origin deep in the Middle Ages. In Othello, the author suggests that the drama offers an understanding of the contradictions tragically intrinsic to Renaissance culture and demands that any audience that benefits from a Renaissance patrimony should re-engage with the agon of its own inheritance.

Keywords: Cressida; Cymbeline; Loves Labours lost ; Othello; Renaissance; Shakespeare; Troilus

10.1163/ej.9789004183346.i-370.10
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    Renaissance? Perceptions of Continuity and Discontinuity in Europe, c.1300- c.1550 — Recommend this title to your library
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