The Shakespearean Name
Essays on "Romeo and Juliet</I>, "The Tempest</I> and Other Plays
©2007 Monographs 238 Pages
This book comprises ten essays on Shakespearean drama, the majority of which focus on the problem of language and more particularly on issues pertaining to names and their meanings. Four of these essays deal specifically with Romeo and Juliet, and examine the work in different sets of terms: as a reply to the aspersions against Shakespeare contained in Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit, as a representative site for a kind of archaeology of meaning, as an experiment in the poetics of identity, and as a meditation on the interrelation between rival conceptions of time. Other works subjected to extended analyses in independent essays are Richard II, Julius Caesar and Macbeth, all of which are interpreted as tragedies of language in which the paradoxes inherent in names and naming are enacted in the personal dilemmas of the protagonists. The final two essays in the volume, comparative rather than exegetical in approach, explore the intricate web of allusion linking The Tempest with Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and Jonson’s The Alchemist, and consider the contribution that all three plays make to the Renaissance exploration of the role played by art and knowledge in human life.