Monday, May 06, 2013

Shakespeare's Favorite Trick?

I didn't expect much out of "How To Write Like Shakespeare" that I hadn't seen before and the first few paragraphs confirmed my prediction -- when he was born, what he was known for, and so on.

Then it got interesting.

Under "Favourite Trick" the author lists the "180-degree turnaround" where a character changes the mind of another purely through persuasive rhetorical argument.  Examples include Richard III wooing Lady Anne, Antony at Caesar's funeral and, of course, Coriolanus and his mom.

I guess I'd never really noticed the pattern before, at least enough to think of it as a tool in Shakespeare's toolbox.

What do you think?  What other "go to" moves do you think that Shakespeare had in his bag of tricks, pulling out again and again when he knew they'd work?

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1 comment:

Orlando said...

Asking the same question over and over, very quickly. When a character in Shakespeare has to make a sudden, drastic reassessment of what someone is capable of, they often ask for the bad news to be re-confirmed several times in a short space: MacDuff hearing that Macbeth has murdered his family, Emilia hearing that it was her husband who slandered Desdemona, Albany hearing that Gloucester's eyes were put out, Cleopatra told that Antony has married Octavia, Cressida seeing that Troilus is going to let her be sent to the Greeks. In each case the person, abruptly and completely, revises their strategy for negotiating the world.