Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

In a word: the importance of Shakespeare's subtexts

Lorelei Cederstrom

Abstract

The subtexts of Shakespeare's plays often provide surprisingly accurate insights not only into the central themes of the plays, but also a greater understanding of the unifying elements. The subtexts from a representative sampling of plays from each of the major periods reveals that such subtextual elements as repeated words, near synonyms and recurrent images are fairly accurate assessors of the playwright's central intent. The best way to approach the plays is through a method that considers not only the text and plot, but the poetic devices that arise by considering the subtext. This study explores the nature-nothing subtext in King Lear, the seeing-seeming disparity in Othello, the repeated references to chains and gold in A Comedy of Errors, the explorations of fortune in As You Like It, the persistent emphasis on words and voices in Coriolanus, and the subtextual significance of wonder and rebellion in The Tempest. In each case, attention to the sound devices, repetitions and patterns of imagery yields a more thorough understanding of the play under consideration than the standard imagery studies or plot analyses.

Keywords

Literatura inglesa; Teatro; Shakespeare, William; Subtexto



DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.1993.6.03

Copyright (c) 1993 Lorelei Cederstrom

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