Shakespeare's World

ebook Historical Explorations of Literature

By John Pendergast

cover image of Shakespeare's World

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Comedy was popular during the Renaissance, and it was also one of Shakespeare's specialties. The four plays discussed in this book, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night and The Tempest, span Shakespeare's career and remind us that Shakespeare, more than any of his contemporaries, explored the possibilities of comedy, consistently developing new approaches to the genre.

Shakespeare was a fairly traditional playwright, well aware of the long tradition of comedy, which dates back to the Greeks and Romans. This book places Shakespeare's comedies in their historical context. It includes dedicated chapters on each of the four comedies, with each chapter providing a plot summary, a discussion of the play's historical background and significance, and excerpts from primary source documents related to the play. An introduction surveys the historical background of the plays, while a timeline chronicles key events that influenced them. Suggestions for further reading direct readers to additional sources of information.

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Shakespeare's World