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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Re: Aristotle's Poetics Read By Shakespeare?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1461  Wednesday, 29 May 2002

[1]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 28 May 2002 22:11:46 -0500
        Subj:   Aristotle's Poetics

[2]     From:   Andrew W. White <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 29 May 2002 00:00:59 -0400
        Subj:   Aristotle's Poetics Read By Shakespeare?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Tuesday, 28 May 2002 22:11:46 -0500
Subject:        Aristotle's Poetics

Peter Groves comments that Shakespeare could have learned about the
Aristotelian criteria for drama from Ben Jonson.  Sir Philip Sidney's
*Apology for Poetry* is a more frontal assault on the kind of play
Shakespeare liked to write.  I like Peter's interpretation of Miranda's
drowsing off.  Note that there is something roughly similar in *The
Comedy of Errors* where Egeon offers a long narrative account of the
pre-history of the play.  I have seen productions in which the Duke and
arresting officers dozed off during this long *narratio*.

Cheers for Unity, but Shakespeare's, not neoAristotelian.
John

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew W. White <
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Date:           Wednesday, 29 May 2002 00:00:59 -0400
Subject:        Aristotle's Poetics Read By Shakespeare?

Brian Willis makes some good points -- Shakespeare seemed to honor
Aristotle more in the breach than in the observance.  As for whether he
knowingly violated the rules, that's a bit tricky:  Machiavelli
explicitly teases his audience for expecting the unities, but I don't
see that sort of thing happening in Shakespeare's plays.

Tempest aside, given the chaotic bent of the later plays I have to
wonder whether the eventual move to Blackfriar's (and a more educated,
presumably Aristotelian-minded audience) had any appreciable effect on
his dramaturgy.

I'm all for the assessment given by critics closest to his time; he was
a popular playwright, but no classicist.  Had he been one (pace,
Jonson), he probably would have bored us to tears.

Andy White

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