Writing for a small troupe of men and boys who performed on an almost bare stage, William Shakespeare dramatised an unparalleled range of stories and emotions through his wizardry with words, his uncanny understanding of the human spirit, and his genius for maximizing the talents of his actors. Working under conditions that today we would consider primitive, he made himself into the supreme playwright. Exactly how does Shakespeare achieve his effects? Why does he continue to enthrall audiences performance after performance, night after night, century after century? Can we learn the secrets of his success? By concentrating on a dozen of his best-known plays (though others receive attention, too), and analysing their structural and theatrical elements as well as their distinctive language, inventive plotting, and unique characters this book demystifies Shakespeare for all theatre lovers. With its down-to-earth and jargon-free approach, Why Shakespeare enables us to step behind the curtain to learn why Shakespeare is considered the greatest dramatist of all time.
Table of Contents
Introduction; Organizing the Story; Managing the Exposition; Structuring and Sequencing the Scenes; Creating Character; Mixing Verse and Prose; Incorporating Theatrical Devices; Resolving the Action; Conclusion: Why Shakespeare; Afterword: On the Publication and Performance of the Plays; Index
Gerald M. Pinciss is Professor Emeritus at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of The City University of New York. He has published several other books on Shakespeare and Elizabethan England, including Shakespeare's World (Continuum), which he co-edited. Pinciss lives in New York City.