The Moral Universe of Shakespeare's Problem Plays

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Routledge, Mar 30, 2021 - Literary Criticism - 246 pages

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.

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Contents

Acknowledgements
Shakespeares Use of His Source Material
Wholeness and Division in Troilus and Cressida
Virtue and Honour in Alls Well that Ends Well
Order and Authority in Measure for Measure
Conclusion
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Vivian Thomas

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