The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest, Cymbeline, and Pericles have been perceived as constituting a distinct group – ‘romances’ – only since 1874, as Barbara Mowat remarks.1 In the First Folio, the first two of these plays were classified as comedies, the third as tragedy. Pericles, not included in the Folio, never received a classification, but was known anomalously as ‘a play called Pericles’ in both quarto and the Third Folio. I shall argue that Cymbeline is to be seen as neither romance nor tragicomedy, but as an ‘early British History’. Close investigation of the play in relation to the historical section of Loves Martyr (published in 1601) will help to place it not in 1609–1610, but early in Shakespeare’s career. It is anti-Tudor in sentiment, and opposed to James as a prospective king. It subtly promulgates the rule of the Dudleys. The meaning of the contested term ‘British’ is key to this interpretation.
'The first Essay of a new Brytish Poet'?
The Appropriation of Shakespeare in Fadia Faqir’s Willow Trees Don’t Weep
Hussein A. Alhawamdeh
This article traces William Shakespeare’s echo in Willow Trees Don’t Weep (2014) by Fadia Faqir, a Jordanian/British novelist, to examine the function of Faqir’s appropriation of Shakespeare’s Othello (1604) and Cymbeline (1611) in
This article revisits one of Shakespeare’s later, often rather neglected, plays. Shakespeare is thought to have written Cymbeline in 1609 or 1610, at much the same moment, it is commonly surmised, as other so-called ‘problem’ plays such as Pericles and The Winter’s Tale. Critics have rarely enthused over Cymbeline, lacking an obvious lead character, the action moving unsettlingly between Roman Britain and Renaissance Italy. Cymbeline has, though, something important to say about the constitutional politics of Jacobean England. King James I liked to style himself as the ‘new Augustus’. He also liked the absolutist idea of kingship which he discovered in his reading of the ‘old’ Augustus. In writing Cymbeline, Shakespeare sought a delicate balance, paying homage to the affinity, whilst also cautioning against uncritical reliance on Roman conceptions of magistracy.
Bits of Shakespeare can be deleted or at least ‘dispensed with’. This is the possibility mooted by the editor of the Second Arden edition of Cymbeline (J.M. Nosworthy) and it appears in the notes to the wager scene, I.v. The element to be dispensed with is the difficult staging of the minor characters present: Philario, a Frenchman, a Spaniard and a Dutchman.
Eve Rachele Sanders
The letter was the single most widely used property in Tudor-Stuart plays. In that memorable stage direction from The Spanish Tragedy, the letter is an instrumental device in the plot. It provides Hieronimo, the central protagonist of the revenge tragedy, with targets for revenge by identifying his son’s killers by name. However, the letter also is a sign for the interior state of mind of its writer, the beautiful Bel-imperia, in issuing a call for reprisal. It is a materialisation of what immaterial passions ultimately drive the action: desire, loss, and rage. Red ink. Blood signifies the authenticity of the words on the page. They come, literally, from Bel-imperia’s heart. And yet, the macabre medium of the message brings Hieronimo to see in it fatal implications for himself. ‘Hieronimo, beware’, he says to himself, ‘thou art betrayed, / And to entrap thy life this train is laid’. (Indeed, in another revenge tragedy, Bussy D’Ambois, an adulterous wife is forced at knifepoint to lay a snare for her lover with that very deception of a letter inscribed in her blood). This single moment in Thomas Kyd’s tragedy, Hieronimo’s reception of Bel-imperia’s ‘bloody writ’, captures the complex of attitudes that governed the circulation of letters as stage properties.
Shakespeare’s interest in ancient Rome spans the whole of his dramatic career, from Titus Andronicus to Cymbeline, while Roman history and Latin culture permeate the whole of his work, well beyond the explicitly ‘Roman’ plays and poems. Critical interest has to some extent shifted from the historicist Roman plays based on Plutarch, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra, and the pseudo-historical Coriolanus, to the outlying Roman plays that evidence greater generic diversity and stylistic innovation, the early Senecan tragedy Titus Andronicus and the late ‘British’ romance Cymbeline. In these latter plays, the complex interactions between past and present, that are the main subject of the formal histories, are presented with even more aesthetic flexibility and creative improvisation than the ‘Roman plays’ proper.
Shakespeare was keenly affected by the lives of the boys who played the parts of women in his plays. Evidence for his understanding and compassion is found in the speeches of those characters who cross-dress female to male. By a double negation of his gender, the boy actor is given an opportunity to speak for himself as well for the female character he is portraying. The examples are Julia as Sebastian in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Portia as Balthazar and Nerissa as both the young lawyer’s clerk and Jessica in The Merchant of Venice, Viola as Cesario in Twelfth Night, Imogen as Fidele in Cymbeline, and especially Rosalind as Ganymede in As You Like It. I argue that what they were given to say by Shakespeare reveals the experience of being a boy, not only in early modern England or ancient Greece (where all parts were also played by males), but also in our time. I suggest the treatment of boys in the theatre is mirrored by the treatment of boys today. In those instances where doubled impersonation was written into Shakespeare’s plays, we have a unique opportunity to hear boys tell us about themselves. As with so much else that is timeless insight, the bard understood and articulated the experience of being a boy. Taken together, the utterances of his “boys” tell us how it is to be a boy.
Why Are the Japanese Titles of Shakespearean Films So Odd?
Hiddleston in a Shakespearean tragedy was appealing to such relatively art-oriented female fans, National Theatre Live Japan had no choice but to release the production as Shakespeare's Coriolanus . 12 Another example of a title change is Cymbeline , a
The Hogarth Project and the Modern Shakespeare Novel
Laurie E. Osborne
filmmakers have begun to take up unusual play choices like Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus and Michael Almereyda's Cymbeline , authors have begun to adapt plays other than the ubiquitous Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth . 29 Some Hogarth plays, like The
Safi Mahmoud Mahfouz
’s concept of the republican speech act to interpret tyranny in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline . He argues that just as intrepid British anti-monarchist writers like William Cobbett and Thomas Paine used analogies when treating the issue of republicanism