Shakespeare and Metatheatre Term Paper by vicki123

Shakespeare and Metatheatre
An examination of William Shakespeare's use of the 'play within the play' in "Hamlet", "The Taming of the Shrew" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream".
# 75264 | 3,288 words | 3 sources | APA | 2006 | GB
Published on Dec 10, 2006 in Drama and Theater (English) , English (Analysis) , Shakespeare (General)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


This paper examines how Shakespeare draws on the stage metaphor, an ancient idea stretching back to the time of Pythagoras and incorporates this comparison of the real world and the world of theatre into a number of his plays. Through an analysis of "Hamlet", "The Taming of the Shrew" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream", it looks at how by mirroring themes in the main plots and by blending life/reality and theatre/illusion and blurring the boundaries between them, Shakespeare's metatheatre illustrates some of the ways in which reality and illusion seep into both life and drama.

From the Paper:

"Elizabethan dramatists like Shakespeare felt the need to acknowledge and define the relationship between their illusory plays and reality, as Anne Righter says: 'A sense of contact with the audience...had to be maintained, a means of relating the play world with that reality upon which plays are built.' By drawing our attention to and making obvious the theatrical elements in the plays, Shakespeare was able to force the audience to acknowledge the artificiality of life, by breaking the 'fourth wall' of conventional naturalistic theatre, the proscenium arch separating actors and audience. In Hamlet, Shakespeare deals with realistic issues such as love, insanity, desire and self-hatred, but by casting Hamlet in the role of someone purposefully putting on an 'antic disposition' (I.v.172) - this being a sort of metatheatre in its own artificiality - he prompts the audience not only to consider the various themes as they might arise in their own experience, but also to question the entire nature of reality in this world. "

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Shakespeare and Metatheatre (2006, December 10) Retrieved June 09, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Shakespeare and Metatheatre " 10 December 2006. Web. 09 June. 2023. <>