The Gospel according to Shakespeare
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Notre Dame Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Note on the Texts
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Preface to the American Edition
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For several years i had been thinking of writing a small book with a title like the present one and had indeed written various pieces that dealt with these themes. Confronting Shakespeare, and his last plays in particular, is almost impossible, and to couple him with the Gospels and with the whole of Scripture is definitely foolhardy. Yet they are ...
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Shakespeare’s romances bring good news, and they do so in a most immediate sense, as they all have a happy ending. these late plays constitute his good news, his Gospel. although Shakespeare has constantly in mind the Christian Gospels, he composes, as the supreme and free playwright that he is, a testament (these are his last works)1 that is truly ...
Chapter 1: Amen for the Fall of a Sparrow
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What happens to Hamlet during the voyage that should bring him from Denmark to England but then leads him home? What—I ask specifically—happens to him on a psychological, mental, and moral level? What happens to his inner self, his way of thinking? Because, more or less, we know what happens materially. His uncle Claudius— brother of Hamlet’s father, usurper of his throne and too-soon husband...
Chapter 2: God’s Spies
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Lear is Job and the Christ in whom, in the New Testament, the character of Job finds its figural fulfillment. The Book of Job is, among all the books of the Hebrew Bible—what Christians call the Old Testament— that which has most scandalized the Western mind. There is nothing as extreme in Greek tragedy, with the exception, perhaps, of Sophocles’ ...
Chapter 3: Music of the Spheres
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Pericles opens under the dark shadow of incest, and with an escape. the prince of Tyre’s misfortunes begin when he goes to Antioch to try to win the hand of king Antiochus’ daughter by solving a riddle. if he does not succeed, he will be condemned to death. however, realizing the dreadful secret of the incest between father and daughter, Pericles ...
Chapter 4: Divineness
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In Cymbeline, Shakespeare performs a series of extraordinary theatrical experiments, combining and juxtaposing genres: history, love story, the tragedy of jealousy, and pastoral elegy. Here too, however, the action is dominated by death and ends in rebirth, in recognition, and in the reconstitution of philia—of affections and of love. On its primary level...
Chapter 5: Resurrection
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The Winter’s Tale is governed by an unstoppable imagination, which seems to mock any kind of coherence, be it spatial, chronological, mythical, or even fantastic. Bohemia is on the coast, and on its shores there lurks a murderous bear, which the audience sees on stage. the time in which the play is set is that of classical antiquity, and a...
Chapter 6: Epiphany
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The Tempest brings unusual and complex Good news. in this multi-form, metamorphic, and ungraspable play, in which Shakespeare’s fantasy moves freely in many directions, there is both the telling of a human gospel and also the staging of something that possesses a sacred aura. Before claiming as much, however, we must read The Tempest at-...
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How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that i do not know whether Shakespeare believed, in his most intimate self, in the immortality of the soul or in the resurrection of the flesh. he does, however, make flesh resurrect here, now, before our very eyes, in ...
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Page Count: 152
Publication Year: 2013