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p. 1Introductionlocked

  • Bart van Es


What is a Shakespearean comedy? Nearly half of Shakespeare’s plays could be described as comedies of some kind, but more restrictive criteria would whittle the number to just half a dozen true, festive Shakespearean comedies. The ‘Introduction’ describes how Shakespeare’s writing would have been influenced by the vibrant culture of commercial public theatre that he encountered in London, which drew on two traditions: the classical tradition of the grammar schools and the less structured jesting and clowning that grew from the morality play. Changes to Shakespeare’s plays after his death in three areas—the depiction of women; the treatment of politics; and the variation of theatrical design—are also considered.

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