Shakespeare’s Tragic Skepticism

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9780300092554: Shakespeare’s Tragic Skepticism
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Readers of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies have long noted the absence of readily explainable motivations for some of Shakespeare’s greatest characters: why does Hamlet delay his revenge for so long? Why does King Lear choose to renounce his power? Why is Othello so vulnerable to Iago’s malice? But while many critics have chosen to overlook these omissions or explain them away, Millicent Bell demonstrates that they are essential elements of Shakespeare’s philosophy of doubt. Examining the major tragedies, Millicent Bell reveals the persistent strain of philosophical skepticism. Like his contemporary, Montaigne, Shakespeare repeatedly calls attention to the essential unknowability of our world.

In a period of social, political, and religious upheaval, uncertainty hovered over matters great and small the succession of the crown, the death of loved ones from plague, the failure of a harvest. Tumultuous social conditions raised ultimate questions for Shakespeare, Bell argues, and ultimately provoked in him a skepticism which casts shadows of existential doubt over his greatest masterpieces.

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About the Author:

Millicent Bell is professor emerita of English literature at Boston University. Her previous books include Marquand: An American Life and Meaning in Henry James.

From Library Journal:

Although chiefly a specialist in American literature who has authored books on J.P. Marquand and Henry James and has edited the Library of America edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's novels, Bell (English, Boston Univ.) offers a perceptive and illuminating examination of Shakespeare's tragedies. Focusing on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth and the Roman tragedies Julius Caesar and Anthony and Cleopatra that frame them, Bell observes that Shakespeare's tragedies often place conflicting and contradictory ideas that cannot be resolved into the unified vision of a coherent universe. These contradictions, she argues, are not a matter of compositional carelessness, New Critical ambiguity, or postmodernist aporia but Shakespeare's expression of a philosophical skepticism. While influenced by New Historicism, Bell further argues that this skepticism goes beyond the ideologies of its time to question the ideas of self, identity, causality, and motivation. Her treatment is thoroughly versed in both Shakespearean criticism and literary theory without being heavy-handed or pedantic, yet it is illuminating and accessible to the general reader. Recommended for academic and public libraries.
T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah, GA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 2002. Hardback. Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Readers of Shakespeare s greatest tragedies have long noted the absence of readily explainable motivations for some of Shakespeare s greatest characters: why does Hamlet delay his revenge for so long? Why does King Lear choose to renounce his power? Why is Othello so vulnerable to Iago s malice? But while many critics have chosen to overlook these omissions or explain them away, Millicent Bell demonstrates that they are essential elements of Shakespeare s philosophy of doubt. Examining the major tragedies, Millicent Bell reveals the persistent strain of philosophical skepticism. Like his contemporary, Montaigne, Shakespeare repeatedly calls attention to the essential unknowability of our world. In a period of social, political, and religious upheaval, uncertainty hovered over matters great and small-the succession of the crown, the death of loved ones from plague, the failure of a harvest. Tumultuous social conditions raised ultimate questions for Shakespeare, Bell argues, and ultimately provoked in him a skepticism which casts shadows of existential doubt over his greatest masterpieces. Seller Inventory # APC9780300092554

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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 2002. Hardback. Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Readers of Shakespeare s greatest tragedies have long noted the absence of readily explainable motivations for some of Shakespeare s greatest characters: why does Hamlet delay his revenge for so long? Why does King Lear choose to renounce his power? Why is Othello so vulnerable to Iago s malice? But while many critics have chosen to overlook these omissions or explain them away, Millicent Bell demonstrates that they are essential elements of Shakespeare s philosophy of doubt. Examining the major tragedies, Millicent Bell reveals the persistent strain of philosophical skepticism. Like his contemporary, Montaigne, Shakespeare repeatedly calls attention to the essential unknowability of our world. In a period of social, political, and religious upheaval, uncertainty hovered over matters great and small-the succession of the crown, the death of loved ones from plague, the failure of a harvest. Tumultuous social conditions raised ultimate questions for Shakespeare, Bell argues, and ultimately provoked in him a skepticism which casts shadows of existential doubt over his greatest masterpieces. Seller Inventory # APC9780300092554

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Book Description Yale University Press. Hardcover. Condition: New. 256 pages. Dimensions: 8.3in. x 5.6in. x 1.0in.Readers of Shakespeares greatest tragedies have long noted the absence of readily explainable motivations for some of Shakespeares greatest characters: why does Hamlet delay his revenge for so long Why does King Lear choose to renounce his power Why is Othello so vulnerable to Iagos malice But while many critics have chosen to overlook these omissions or explain them away, Millicent Bell demonstrates that they are essential elements of Shakespeares philosophy of doubt. Examining the major tragedies, Millicent Bell reveals the persistent strain of philosophical scepticism. Like his contemporary, Montaigne, Shakespeare repeatedly calls attention to the essential unknowability of our world. In a period of social, political and religious upheaval, uncertainty hovered over matters great and small - the succession of the crown, the death of loved ones from plague, the failure of a harvest. Tumultuous social conditions raised ultimate questions for Shakespeare, Bell argues, and ultimately provoked in him a scepticism which casts shadows of existential doubt over his greatest masterpieces. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Hardcover. Seller Inventory # 9780300092554

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