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date: 21 June 2021

8. Tragicomedylocked

8. Tragicomedylocked

  • Stanley Wells


Shakespeare’s restlessly imaginative exploration of the possibilities of comic form led him into new paths in four plays based on romance literature that show him continuing to experiment with new dramatic techniques. All their plots include highly improbable and supernatural elements. All tell of high-born families and lovers separated by catastrophe, sometimes natural, at other times humanly contrived. All span large areas of space and time and involve leading characters in suffering. Tragicomedy describes Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest before going on to discuss Shakespeare’s collaboration with John Fletcher at the very end of his career when they worked together on Cardenio, All Is True, and The Two Noble Kinsmen.

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