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Essays

Short pieces, a bit longer than the notes, about Shakespeare or his works.

Shakespeare and the Casting Couch

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Stories about women summoned as supplicants to the portals of men with the power to grant their wishes, for a price, are common across professions, across countries, across millennia. Shakespeare dramatized the dilemmas some of these women faced in more than one of his plays.

In both Henry VI Part 3 and Measure for Measure, for example, Shakespeare created male and female characters that,
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Richard, Romeo, Juliet and the Sonnet

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Two of Shakespeare's earliest plays, Richard III and Romeo and Juliet, open with sonnets and then employ variations on the sonnet's structure for dramatic and poetic effect. This isn't surprising. At this point in Shakespeare's life he seems to have had dual career goals. First, he wanted to make money, which he could accomplish through theater. But in Elizabethan times theater was still considered hack work.
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Shakespeare, Politics and the People

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The eve of the 2016 presidential elections is a good occasion to consult William Shakespeare about politics. Shakespeare often wrote about politics but he usually dealt with political infighting at court. Two of his Roman plays, however, deal specifically with politicians' relationship with the people, the fickle masses. Julius Caesar and Coriolanus offer observations about these fraught relationships,
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