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Well-known as a critic, Northrop Frye is also a renowned educator. This book, for the first time, allows us access to his classroom. Here he discusses Shakespeare's comedies, histories and tragedies, and introduces us to a new category - Shakespeare's romances, those glittering, frightening, magical plays of the playwright's later years.
Dr. Frye presents lucid expositions of Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard II, Henry IV, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest, relating each of these works to others in the Shakespeare canon so that by the end of the book new light has been shed on all of Shakespeare's plays. Within this framework, Frye discusses many of the central elements of Shakespearean drama - from the traditions of comedy and tragedy to the historical background of the plays, from imagery and patterning to characterization, from the use of myth, folklore, and the supernatural to the anthropological roots of Shakespeare's ideas.
Northrop Frye on Shakespeare will be invaluable to any student of literature, but its clarity and accessibility will also attract anyone with an interest in Shakespearean drama. It is as useful to the playgoer as it is to the academic, and proves that literary criticism can be as amusing as it is rewarding.