In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews 28 1 the conventional use? Or alluding to actual conditions surrounding per­ formance of the court masque that we have not discovered? It is curious that Sutherland does not address such questions, for her Epilogue indicates that she knows they exist. "What," she asks there, "is the significance of finding this kind of juxtaposition between decorum and indecorum, order and disorder, in six of the finest tragedies produced in the Jacobean theater?" (p. 1 13 ) ; "Why in this first quarter of the seventeenth century, and not before or in quite the same way since, do the best dramatists present their audiences with spectacular scenes that throw violently together the orderly decorum inherent in celebratory court entertainment with the disordered indecorum of madness and mur­ der?'' (p. 1 14). By way of answer she adduces "Jacobean sensibility," "the same impulse that led the finest minds of the age to dwell almost obsessively on the simultaneously similar and dissimilar nature of things" (pp. 1 14-15) . This seems to me is an inadequate explanation-not a false one, but one that begs the question. The work of recent new-historical critics of Renaissance drama has indicated that many of these works are socially and politically charged, as of course is much of the drama of our own day. The juxtaposition Sutherland has highlighted strikes me as the kind of device Renaissance playwrights might have seized as the means not only of enacting violence but of alluding to disorder implicit in the symbols of order, one of the well-guarded secrets everyone is in on. It is to be hoped that the subject Sutherland has brought again to our attention and ably explicated will be pursued by scholar-critics interested not only in the function of the masque within the play, but in the role of the masque within the play within the culture. ELISE BICKFORD JORGENS Western Michigan University Joan Hartwig. Shakespeare's Analogical Scene. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1984. Pp. 243. $19.50. Joan Hartwig's book is a collection of Formalist criticism of individual scenes from Shakespeare's plays, using the same technique of rhetorical analysis throughout all of them. In her introductory chapter she establishes her pattern. The meaning of the total play, she believes, can be perceived and enriched by discovering the way in which small comic scenes parallel the major action. By studying these "analogical scenes," the critic can perceive new subtleties in the central plot. In addition, of course, these scenes provide the audience breathing space during which to ab!iorb the deeper meanings of the plays. She divides such scenes into parodic ones, which reduce "metaphor to a specific concrete action" (p. 10), emble­ matic ones, which make specifically concrete that which was abstract, and proleptic ones, which precede the action they imitate. With perceptive and selective skill Hartwig analyzes representative scenes, combining these analyses with information derived from source study and earlier scholarly opinion. She demonstrates, for example, how 282 Comparative Drama appropriately the Cinna the Poet scene in Julius Caesar reflects the death of Caesar and indicates the confusion of the state. In Macbeth she does much the same kind of analysis with the Porter scene, the murderers' scene, and Malcolm's scene with Macduff in England. In Romeo and Juliet she develops a larger use of the parodic technique by applying historical criticism also and demonstrating how the apothecary has an emblematic relationship to the iconographic tradition of Despair. Thus, she concludes that Romeo's encounter with the apothecary logically leads to an intense deepening of Romeo's tragic moment. Again using source studies and relevant scholarly support, Hartwig shows the way in which the York/Aumerle conflict over the Oxford Conspiracy reflects and predicts other events in the play, thus developing through comic hesita­ tion an environment in which audience consciousness can expand and grow. These scenes, she points out, regularly parody larger issues, but in Twelfth Night Shakespeare employs the parody principle throughout the entire subplot, so that "there is a sense of . narrative necessity be­ tween these scenes and those they imitate in comic ways" (p. 135) . As the subplot is used to parallel in...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 281-282
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.