Shakespeare's Agonistic Comedy: Poetics, Analysis, Criticism

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Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 1993 - 302 páginas
Shakespeare's Agonistic Comedy focuses on one of the three comic strategies deployed and explored by Shakespeare in his comedies from Errors to Twelfth Night: the essentially punitive strategy, which author G. Beiner labels "agonistic," and which is distinguished from the essentially reparative "comedy of love" as well as from the perspective of folly.
In one respect, the purpose of this book is to define the characteristics and to map the canon of Shakespeare's agonistic comedy; in other words, to provide a poetics. Such a task has its own importance and preliminary value if fundamental patterns and functions have not been recognized as such in the critical analysis of a body of texts. Part I of Shakespeare's Agonistic Comedy identifies the structural characteristics of the provisionally outlined canon, focuses on apparently borderline cases (Petruchio and Katherina, Benedick and Beatrice, Jaques and Don John, as well as that of Love's Labour's Lost) in order to define the canon more precisely, defines the distinctive perspective generated by agonistic comedy, and examines the thematic and referential patterns that may appear prima facie to be characteristic of this comedy: violence and revenge. Throughout this section dealing with poetics, Beiner emphasizes that agonistic comedy is capable of being self-complete and independent and yet in Shakespearean comedy it never generates an entire play; nor does it appear in every play from Errors to Twelfth Night. A poetics of Shakespeare's agonistic comedy is necessarily related to the wider field of a poetics of Shakespearean comedy, which in turn is related to the even wider area of comic traditions.
As the poetics is based on the texts (not derived by deduction or theoretical extension from some principle of poetics), so it is applied as a tool of analysis to the texts and used in conjunction with evaluation. The underlying assumption is that the task of poetics is instrumental, and that its usefulness has to be demonstrated and verified in practice. Hence, the division of the book into two parts. As Part I formulates a poetics on the basis of the texts, so Part II applies the poetics to the major texts - always within the dynamics of the multiple-plot and multi-layered perspective on a play. Part II focuses in detail on The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Merchant of Venice, and Twelfth Night, analyzing the agons and placing them in relation to the comedy of love and the perspective of folly.

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Contenido

Agon versus Comedy of Love Structural Difference and Complementarity
25
Semiagon and the Comedy of Love Clarifying the Boundary
54
The Agonistic Perspective ReaderSpectator Response
77
Violence in the Comedy of Love Errors to Twelfth Night Referential and Thematic Patterns
88
Comic Revenge and Agons Referential and Thematic Patterns Continued
118
The Major Texts
137
The Merry Wives of Windsor
139
The Merchant of Venice
164
Twelfth Night
199
Notes
229
Bibliography
278
Index
288
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Página 178 - Out upon her ! Thou torturest me, Tubal. It was my turquoise ; I had it of Leah, when I was a bachelor. I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.
Página 187 - Though justice be thy plea, consider this,— That, in the course of justice, none of us Should see salvation : we do pray for mercy; And that same prayer doth teach us all to render The deeds of mercy.
Página 256 - Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion, Both warbling of one song, both in one key; As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds, Had been incorporate. So we grew together, Like to a double cherry, seeming parted; But yet a union in partition, Two lovely berries moulded on one stem; So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart; Two of the first, 2 like coats in heraldry, Due but to one, and crowned with one crest.
Página 134 - If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility ? revenge : If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example ? why, revenge. The villainy, you teach me, I will execute; and it shall go hard, but I will better the instruction.
Página 216 - You have said, sir. — To see this age ! — A sentence is but a cheveril glove to a good wit : how quickly the wrong side may be turned outward ! Vio.
Página 171 - Or Shall I bend low and in a bondman's key, With bated breath and whispering humbleness, Say this; 'Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last; You spurn'd me such a day; another time You call'd me dog; and for these courtesies I'll lend you thus much moneys'?

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