New Historicism – the Relationship Between Literature and History

Rather like Michel Foucault, the New Historicist believes that words are power and that it is through words that we are ‘communicated’ into being. Those who would ‘normalise’ and ‘socialise’ us to their purposes can do this well with facts and reported events that support their goals.

Disguise as a Device in Renaissance Drama

If as postmodern philosophers like Foucault have suggested, the ‘self’ is narrated into existence by the stories that we and others tell us about us, then this ability to be someone else allows the disguised character to disconnect with his/her story and play an entirely different one to great effect.

Tradition and Form in Renaissance Tragedy

The form of English tragedy has most certain evolved over time – with Chaucer it was a ‘ditty’ about prosperity ending in wretchedness whist in later periods it had morphed into sad stories about a man’s fall as told by his ghost. By the 15th and early 16th century, we see the so-called ‘everyman (morality) plays’ – whereby on actor represents all of mankind with angels and the like tempting him to do evil with a view to investigating notions of Christian salvation.

The Significance of Humoural Theory in Early Modern Drama

In his essay Hamlet and His Problems, TS Eliot (81-87) concludes that such refusal leaves Hamlet ‘dominated by an emotion’ which ‘is inexpressible’ – he can neither ‘understand’ nor ‘objectify’ it – and if a key character such as Hamlet remains inexpressible on stage, then as Eliot suggests the play is an ‘artistic failure’.

The Fatness of Falstaff & the politics of redemption

At the end of the day it is not Wonga’s owners (nor their equity investors) who will pay for its redemption but those two million customers who have already paid interest rates in excess of 5,000% (APR). Likewise, at the end of the day it is not Hal (nor his family) who will pay for his redemption but Falstaff.

The Astrological Fortunes of Richard III

Overall, this gets Richard III to chieftain level – but not to King – and that shouldn’t be surprising because although he was crowned king, it was only because he killed off all others entitled to wear the crown

Troilus and Cressida or a good, hard look at the footprint of something short of an idealised and benevolent God

Many don’t like realistic theatre. We don’t want to pay good money to see a story where (unlike our everyday lives) the loose ends are not tied up. Such untidiness threatens our personal cosmologies – i.e. the carefully constructed psychologically spatial orientation through which we view the world.