The Moral Universe of Shakespeare's Problem Plays
What is it that makes Shakespeare’s problem plays problematic? Many critics have sought for the underlying vision or message of these puzzling and disturbing dramas. Originally published in 1987, the key to Viv Thomas’s new synthesis of the plays is the idea of fracture and dissolution in the universe. From the collapse of ‘degree’ in Troilus and Cressida to the corruption at the heart of innocence in Measure for Measure, to the puzzling status of virtue and valour in All’s Well, the most obvious feature of these plays in their capacity to prompt new questions. In a detailed discussion of each play in turn, the author traces the dominant themes that both distinguish and unite them, and provides numerous insights into the sources, background, texture and morality of the plays.