The Changing Work of Shakespeare Analytical Essay by Mosandy

The Changing Work of Shakespeare
A discussion on how William Shakespeare's "Cymbeline" and the "Sonnets" are in many ways less satisfactory than "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Richard II".
# 59611 | 4,078 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2004 | GB

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This paper examines how Shakespeare's work changed substantially through his career and how change wasn't always for the best. It briefly outlines the chronology of Shakespeare's work and discuss some of the similarities and continuities as well as the changes evident in the texts of "Cymbeline" and the "Sonnets" compared with his other works such as A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Richard II". It also considers the contemporary influences that may have informed these changes as well as critical reception and performance histories that bring us to the current state of popularity of these works.

From the Paper:

"Critical reception of Cymbeline has been mixed, which has inevitably affected the popularity of the play. Many early critics such as Samuel Johnson writing in the eighteenth century focused on its lack of classical form and Hawkins and Garrick produced modified versions of Cymbeline to encompass classical ideals. Nineteenth century reception was on the whole more sympathetic, particularly to the character of Innogen who found favor with the Romantics and Victorians. One notable critic writing at the time of women's suffrage was George Bernard Shaw who condemned its "artificialities" and declared Innogen an "idiotic paragon of virtue" (quoted in Brown and Johnson, 2000, p. 10). Shaw also criticized the play's complicated denouement and entirely rewrote it for his production in 1936."

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