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Shakespeare's Imitations
University of Delaware Press | 2002-06 | ISBN: 0874137756 | 185 pages | PDF | 6 MB

In the context of classical and Renaissance theories of imitation, or mimesis, Shakespeare's Imitations discusses features of four plays by Shakespeare that imitate materials outside but especially within the same plays. The book argues that an imitation does not merely repeat its model, it completes and deciphers it: the model, that is, can begin to be understood fully only after its imitation is apprehended as an interpretation of it. But the connection is entirely reciprocal, for the original also imitates and interprets its copy. Shakespeare's Imitations examines the main love plot of A Midsummer Night's Dream through the lens provided by the interlude of Pyramus and Thisbe (and vice versa); the showdown of Prince Hal and his father in 1 Henry IV through its anticipatory parodies in the plays extempore of the Prince and Falstaff two scenes earlier; the deadly recent history of Denmark in Hamlet, through the Murder of Gonzago; and the conspiracy of Antonio and Sebastian in The Tempest through its unwitting burlesque by Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo. This approach produces new and comprehensive readings of the selected plays, and contributes to a display of their dramatic form.


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