Monday, February 6, 2012

Shakespeare's inception: a play with a play

Shakespeare was way ahead of his time in both the tragic sense and the comical sense of theater. Many times, Shakespeare's plays captures the essence of human behavior. This is why his plays are so delightful; all kinds of people are able to empathize with his characters and the situations they are in. In addition, the outcomes of the plays , though at times unrealistic, are exactly what people are expecting and fathoming to occur to them. This relating of characters and plot in the plays are the roots of his success. It is what makes his plays timeless. These elements can be preserved and recycled repetitiously. All of Shakespeare's comedies are based on this premise. The events that transpire within the comedies are equivalent to their realistic counterparts. For instance, a head-strong female figure in The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing, both features and represent the few women in his era that are present and defying the society's conformed gender roles. Shakespeare plays on the "weaker" characters to demonstrate, and possibly emphasize the importance of the "weaker" people in society. His message to his audience is simply that everyone is significant and has a role, whether good or bad, in every single person's "play", or life. His comedies do not only incorporate the traditional aspects of comedies, it is always concealed with messages that the audience will eventually decipher in order to understand the overall plot. However, the theme of love is never employed in the same way. There are various types of love that Shakespeare used in these comedies. The idea of learning love, or slowly building a relationship, is a theme explored in the Taming of the Shrew. Petronius learns to communicate with Kate through the most efficient method. It is a kind of love that works both ways. On the other side of the spectrum, there is the "tough" love explored in Much Ado About Nothing between Beatrice and Benedick. This is the "love/hate" relationship between these two characters the gets them to love each other no matter what. There is also the "innocent" love, or infatuation as I would call it, shown in Twelfth Night between Olivia and the Duke, Olivia and Caesario, and Viola and the Duke. These characters are not necessarily in deep true profound love, but more of a passionate sort of love. All these forms can be experienced by people of all ages and cultures. It is an innate part of the human condition. Shakespeare's genius is his capacity to consolidate these ideals, these conforming perspectives of ordinary human beings, with  the comical fairy-tale settings and ending that people desire to live with. The lives of his audience mimic those in his plays. Hence, a play within a play.

1 comment:

  1. Score (non-TOASTed): 10/10. Apologies for not grading this sooner!