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By Gary Waller

Described as certainly one of Shakespeare’s so much fascinating performs, All’s good That Ends Well has just recently started to obtain the severe recognition it merits. famous as a vital aspect of improvement in Shakespeare’s occupation, this choice of new essays displays the transforming into curiosity within the play and provides a vast diversity of methods to it, together with ancient, feminist, performative and psychoanalytical criticisms.

In addition to 14 essays written through top students, the editor’s creation presents a considerable evaluate of the play’s severe heritage, with a robust specialize in functionality research and the impression that this has had on its reception and attractiveness. Demonstrating quite a few techniques to the play and furthering fresh debates, this e-book makes a helpful contribution to Shakespeare criticism.

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Extra info for All's Well, That Ends Well: New Critical Essays

Sample text

Further, despite the King’s disapproval, “emperic”ism of course becomes the basis of post-Renaissance medicine. The recurring tension between “realism” and “romance” once again surfaces here. Helena can be read as a fairytale figure, the heroine of a social fantasy who is somehow directed by providence or magic to a miraculous cure of the King; or she can be presented as a learned, educated woman, the inheritor of her father’s skill and of his famed “receipts,” cures or prescriptions, which he charged her to keep and apply.

Why does Helena want him so badly? Why (if at all) should he be forgiven? 69), and what he lacks is not just the seasoning of years, but the experiences simply of others, of mature human relationships. Can we see him grow over the course of the play? Or is his seemingly compulsive mendacity proof of continuing weakness? What has been “seasoned” at the court by the end? Has he simply learned his proper place in the social hierarchy? Nobody (except Parolles) seems to think Bertram has a right to resist marriage to Helena, though for today, in an age when (for the most part) choice of a romantic partner is assumed, Bertram’s plight has received more sympathy, presenting directors with a special challenge to somehow make the “choosing” scene plausible.

Such a reading allows for Parolles to be played either seriously or farcically, but it is rare for a production to underplay the potentially comic side—especially given the work that must be done to make the Clown Lavatch other than a very pale imitation of Feste or Touchstone. Parolles’s attractiveness paradoxically includes his lies and exaggerations, his overthe-top dressing, and his pompous self-aggrandizement about recapturing the lost drum. As the play develops, his humor may, however, become more sinister; or, it may be that a production will bring out a weak and slightly pathetic side, allowing the torture scene to move from raucous male humor to something more unnerving.

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