Abstract

This article considers Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in light of recent inquiry into the definition of “life” by philosophers of science, including Giorgio Agamben, Michel Foucault, Norbert Wiener, and Georges Canguilhem. It suggests that Shakespeare’s theater should be understood as a machine or technical device for generating artificial forms of life and compares it to twentieth-century experiments in computing and to twenty-first century new media technology. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we find a meta-theatrical treatment of the problem of “character” as a form of artificial life, a posthuman entity that challenges us to re-imagine our own post-Enlightenment categories, including the relationship between literary and scientific modes of understanding.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1549-3377
Print ISSN
0743-6831
Pages
pp. 197-217
Launched on MUSE
2009-04-11
Open Access
No
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