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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: October ::
Self-conscious Irony
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0747.  Monday, 2 October 1995.
From:           John McClain <
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Date:           Sunday, 1 Oct 1995 23:35:48 +0900
Subject:        Self-conscious Irony
Dear Fellow SHAKESPEReans,
I've been a lurker here for a couple of months. I've enjoyed it immensely. But
one message has piqued my interest and brought me to make a request.
In The Compass of Irony D.C. Muecke discusses a form of self-reflexive (or
self-conscious) irony that he characterizes (borrowing from the Schlegel bros.)
as a paradoxical, "dis-illusioning" reference by a character IN a play to the
fact of they're actually being a character in a play (ala Beckett or
Pirandello). Examples such as Jacques' "All the world's a stage...," or
Macbeth's "Life's but a walking shadow..."  being the most obvious examples
(and isn't Hamlet in its entirety--from the "existential" uncertainty of "Who's
there?" to Fortinbras's final command a full-fledged treatment of this theme?).
I'd like to know of any recent studies that explore this aspect of
Shakespeare's drama and poetry.
Thanks in advance,
John McClain

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