The Unmasking of Drama: Contested Representation in Shakespeare's Tragedies
In The Unmasking of Drama, Jonathan Baldo examines the remarkable representative power with which viewers invest Shakespearean theater, contending that struggles over representation constitute one of the greatest dramas within Shakespearean drama.
From Hamlet to Coriolanus and Timon of Athens, Shakespeare's tragedies constitute the most strenuous attempts within English Renaissance tragedy to unmask its representational practices and to penetrate its own ordering principles. Baldo evaluates the theater's economical means of representation, its heavy reliance on the authority of generalizing, and its assumption of a translatability between visual and verbal signs. He discovers that those modes of representation echo Renaissance assumptions about political representation, and as a result, Shakespearean drama's self-investigations bear powerful political implications.
This study reveals the flaws within the widespread assumption that Shakespeare's plays possess an almost limitless capacity to represent, to speak on behalf of subsequent generations and other cultures. Baldo shows that one of the great ironies of such a "universalist" Shakespeare is that Shakespearean drama itself challenges the Renaissance era's dominant ideas about representation: for instance, the assumption that a single body, a monarch, can represent an entire people. Paradoxically, to many, Shakespeare fulfills the very function that none of his monarchs can.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
according action appears association auditory authority become beginning body politic Brutus calls century challenge character claim common concept Coriolanus Coriolanus's criticism culture death difference discussion drama earlier effects Elizabethan England English epigrams especially essay eye and ear father figure Foucault function give Hamlet hear Henry Horatio human important individual instance integrity interest James kind King language largely later less levelling lines literary London madness means metaphor mind monarch nature opening Ophelia Parliament partiality particular party person play Poet practices present question reading reference reflections relation Renaissance representation representative rhetoric Romeo scene seems sense serve Shakespeare's sight single sovereign sovereignty speak spectacle speech stage Studies suggest synecdoche theater theatrical things Timon Timon of Athens tragedies tragic trope University Press unlike verbal visible visual voice whole wounds writes