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Natalia Mikeladze. «Shakespeare and Machiavelli: The Theme of "Machiavellism" in Shakespearean Drama»

Synopsis

This book discusses Shakespeare's perception and dramatic representation of an ideological complex known as «machiavellism» since mid XVI century. The study proves that Shakespeare was highly likely to have direct access to Machiavelli's The Prince. The Elizabethan and French (1571) translations of Il Principe as well as Innocent Gentillet's Anti-Machiavelli (1576) are studied comparatively with a wide range of Shakespearean dramatic texts (nine English histories, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth). The author explores the works in the playwright's dramatic canon where the theme of «machiavellism» occupies a prominent place and comes to a conclusion that Shakespeare created a full-fledged dramatic Anti-Machiavelli. Produced in Britain at the epoch boundary, it was possibly more influential than any analogous discourse by European religious and political writers of the age. The subject is considered in connection with the essential communicative role played by the public theatre in English society. The approach helps to clarify the general ideological vector of Shakespearean theatre-communicator on the eve of the great historical and social changes and offers a more precise interpretation of a number of the playwright's chief dramatic works.

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