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  • John Vyvyan.
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Buy Now. But in the end love prevails and resentment is overcome. This fundamental conflict between love and resentment may, I believe, be found in all the plays. Here, I shall try to demonstrate how Shakespeare elaborates the conflict in a single comedy. In Much Ado About Nothing , we see a young man searching for love. He sees the beautiful Hero and falls in love. It is not the first time Claudio noticed the girl. But to this point his mind had been occupied by war:. The references to war may seem insignificant but they are not.


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In the tragedies, war is omnipresent. In each of these cases, war has a symbolic as well as literal meaning. It portends the approaching battle within the protagonist. Their meaning, of course, is that though Macbeth wins the physical battle, he loses the battle for his soul. It is a cardinal rule with Shakespeare that when the forces of war are in the ascendance, love cannot flourish. War is the memorizing of Golgotha, a monument to the graveyard. Shakespeare never hesitates to draw on this imagery of the duel between love and war.

When Claudio declares his allegiance to love at the beginning of the play, we are meant to applaud it. The hero is inexperienced and hesitant, but he is at least heading in the right direction. The shift from prose to verse underscores the seriousness of the change within Claudio:. But now I am returned and that war thoughts Have left their places vacant, in their rooms Come thronging soft and delicate desires, All prompting me how fair young Hero is, Saying, I liked her ere I went to wars. For guidance, Claudio turns to his companion, the prince Don Pedro. Who better to teach him how to love?

My love is thine to teach. Teach it but how, And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn Any hard lesson that may do thee good.

The hero has to find that which already exists within him, if only he can discover it. But Claudio is unsure of himself. He has only vague ideas about what love is, ideas that he has gotten from books and romantic tales. The prince warns him against these distractions:. Thou wilt be like a lover presently And tire the hearer with a book of words.

It is not books that Claudio should be looking to but the woman herself. That is why the prince makes the decision to break with her father and bring Hero directly to Claudio.

If Claudio is to learn how to love, he must focus on the woman, not the poetry. He swears never to trust love and declares beauty to be a witch. In a fit of petulance, the hero abandons love.

The Shakespearean Ethic (Vyvyan's Shakespearean Trilogy)

The Count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well; but civil count, civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion. Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won. I have broke with her father and his good will obtained. Name the day of marriage, and God give thee joy! Claudio and Hero are betrothed. Resentment is, for the time being, banished. Love is once again in the ascendance. The prince now turns his attention to the second pair of lovers, Beatrice and Benedick.

It seems his work is done and, more or less in the middle of the play, he prepares to leave Messina. He says to Claudio:. I do but stay till your marriage be consummate, and then go I toward Aragon. But love will be tested again.


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  7. As is typical in Shakespeare, the final assault occurs in the third act. This first conflict warns us that the protagonist is weak and we are unsurprised when he fails his second test. Claudio is told that Hero is unfaithful. Appreciating the danger Shakespeare faced in writing at a time of major religious intolerance, Vyvyan shows how subtly the plays explore aspects of the perennial philosophy allegorically.

    In doing so, Shakespeare raises the fundamental question of ethics: What ought we to do?

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    He is never in doubt as to whether the souls of his characters are rising or falling. His intuitive insights also illumine Macbeth, Julius Caesar and Titus Andronicus which focus on the fall, whereas The Tempest explores most fully the pattern of regeneration and creative mercy. Here is a book, both thought-provoking and persuasive, which will send many readers back to Shakespeare's plays with fresh vision and clearer understanding.

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    To assist such readers, this edition cross-references the quotations in the text to the relevant place in the play. The text has been completely reset and the index expanded. The most original book about Shakespeare I have ever read. Mr Vyvyan's thesis is important and serious: serious in the sense that his reading of the plays and his supporting reading into Shakespeare's climate of ideas is deep, connected and wide. John Vyvyan, born in in Sussex, was educated mainly in Switzerland. He retired from archaeology to become a Shakespearean scholar and to write.

    He died in Exmouth in Convert currency. Add to Basket. Book Description Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory ST Seller Inventory ST More information about this seller Contact this seller. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book.