Masters Thesis

Poetic drama in Love's Labor's Lost.

Shakespeare's poetic dramas mark the height in the evolution of a form that had begun with the dramatizations of the medieval mystery plays, and they have a power that has not been realized in the genre since. We may describe this power as the capacity for universalizing experience, for his poetic dramas possess an enduring vitality. As modern viewers we delight in the spectacle of the action on stage, for certainly Shakespeare was a master dramatist; but his reference is not merely to the visible or external world. Shakespeare's interest is in the dramatic experience itself, the patterns of basic human experiences. As poetic dramatist, he seeks expression for those truths that go far beneath the facade of appearance to the often chaotic subterranean and emotional forces that shape our lives. His appeal speaks to that "inward life" that is seldom seen and perhaps even less understood. We respond emotionally to truths that are universal, basic to our experience. The fusion of the poetic and dramatic accomplishes the form's peculiar power; it has an immediate, visual, and aural impact because it is presented on stage, but it also utilizes traditionally "poetic" resources to probe the hidden conflicts of the mind. The generality and profundity of the poetic drama are rooted in human passion, psychology, and spiritual experience.

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