Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Well Said: Love Drama or Power Drama

We tend to think of Shakespeare's plays as being tragedies or comedies but this opens things up a bit.
If the distinction is not held too rigidly nor pressed too far, it is interesting to think of Shakespeare's chief works as either love dramas or power dramas, or a combination of the two. In his Histories, the poet handles the power problem primarily, the love interest being decidedly incidental. In the Comedies, it is the other way around, overwhelmingly in the lighter ones, distinctly in the graver ones, except in Troilus and Cressida--hardly comedy at all--where without full integration something like a balance is maintained. In the Tragedies both interests are important, but Othello is decidedly a love drama and Macbeth as clearly a power drama, while in Hamlet and King Lear the two interests often alternate rather than blend.”
Harold Clarke Goddard, The Meaning of Shakespeare, Volume 2
I never thought of it this way but Goddard is right. This is a very interesting way to look at the Bard's work. I just can't praise Goddard's books highly enough, by the way, for anyone who is interested in digging deeper into Shakespeare.Insightful, illuminating, and stimulating literary criticism which always respects Shakespeare's text.

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