William Shakespeare was one of the greatest playwrights, poets, actors, dramatists, and writers in the English language. One of the main reasons for the success of his plays has been the choice of material. Ideally, he has used comedy and drama in his writings. Some of his best works include the Merchant of Venice, Othello, Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, The Tempest, and Hamlet. William Shakespeares work makes him famous for his extant literary works and his ability to capitalize on a variety of styles, including poetic, theatric, and dramatic jargon, such as the use of imagery, dialogue, themes, protagonist, antagonist, symbolism, allegory, and fiction among others as portrayed in his extant works, which remain unmatched by any other author.
For instance, in Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare has capitalized on the use of themes, which makes the play captivating and interesting to read. One of the best themes is love, and it comes in a variety of ways. It is between friends, family members, and lovers. However, after reading the play, loves absence is more notable than its presence. Further, it goes hand in hand with betrayal. For instance, in the play, Bassanio asserts that he loves Portia, but apparently, he courts her for her money. The same is true of Lorenzos interest in Jessica. Antonio and Bassanio depict the presence of love amongst friends. In addition, the theme of marriage is evident, which Shakespeare portrays it as a risky business venture, a chance for happiness, as well as an opportunity for more secure friendship. For example, Bassanio says, In Belmont there is a lady richly left.and many Jasons come in quest of her (1.1.6). From this, it can be deduced that Bassanio is only interested in courting Portia primarily because her dad had left her a lot of wealth, and he is broke.
The Merchant of Venice has also been presented in dialogue, which Shakespeare has used in the entire play. For instance, this has been used from the beginning of the play. In act one, scene one, and line two, Solanio asks Antonio why then are you in love, and Antonio replies, fie. As such, it is clear that Shakespeare has used the jargon of dialogue in his play, thus making the play more interesting. Other examples include the dialogue of Portia and Nerissa:
PORTIA: Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think, so was he call'd.
NERISSA: True, madam; he, of all the men that ever my foolish eyes look'd upon, was the best deserving a fair lady.
PORTIA: I remember him well, and I remember him worthy of thy praise. (1.2.13)
Further, Shakespeare has used a lot of plots in the Merchant of Venice. At the beginning of the play, Antonio says that he has a melancholy that he cannot explain. Later, this is revealed to be the quest for Shylock to implicate revenge on him by asking for a pound of flesh. Also, Bassanio is poor but he courts Portia and later becomes a wealthy man after he marries her. Further, they save their friend Antonio from Shylock who wants to exercise his hate on him by asking a pound of flesh near his heart, which as expected, will instantly kill Antonio. Having leveraged on the use of plot, Shakespeare can depict his themes in the play (Dailey, 2011).
Considering Romeo and Juliet, the use of an antagonist and a protagonist is evident. A protagonist is the main character in a play or a story while an antagonist is an individual who creates conflicts for the protagonist. As such, Romeo is the protagonist because, in the readers perception, he is the one we want to succeed in the journey of love. In addition, his intentions are pure. For this reason, we feel sorry when he meets his tragic end and does not get what he was initially fighting for, which, in this case, was Juliet. Most readers would label Tybalt as the main antagonist as he wants to fight Romeo, and thus, readers have been conditioned not to feel sorry for him and to hate him due to his detest for peace.
Also, Shakespeare has capitalized the use of genres. For instance, according to Nielsen Isho (2015), Hamlet belongs to the revenge genre. As the author asserts, Hamlet needs to find justification before taking revenge, thus revealing his vengeful qualities. As such, his intellectual characterization plays a crucial role in directing cynicism against his fathers presence. Ideally, as Nielsen Isho points out, instead of confronting Claudius, he needs to find a reason to harm. After reading the play, it is evident that Hamlet is vengeful as shown in Act three, Scene one:
The spirit that I have seen
May be the [devl], and the [devl] hath power
T assume a pleasing shape, yea, and perhaps,
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me. (Shakespeare 3.1.578-83)
Further, the play Hamlet shows plenty of fictions. According to Madeleine (2015), the need for justification, in order to avenge, portrays the genre of crime fiction. In light of the revenge tragedy in the play, Shakespeare creates a sensational fiction where crime and justice are central. As such, the avenger, in this case, being Hamlet, shows how he acted as a proto-detective in search for evidence. The play reveals how Claudius and Hamlet played reciprocal roles as both hunters and prey. Consequently, all four deaths in the last scene of the play are caused by Hamlets revenge against Claudius, as well as the simultaneous Claudius mirror-image counterplot against Hamlet. Therefore, the play Hamlet emphasizes the intrinsic difficulties of detection, and thus, raise central issues of social justice and detection, which as seen after reading the play are themes that Shakespeare used to make the play interesting.
Also, Shakespeare Othello uses symbolism, allegory and imagery. The handkerchief has been used as a dominant symbol as it circulates in the entire play. Primarily, Othello gave it to Desdemona as a first gift, and it symbolizes a token for his love, which Desdemona truly cherishes. Further, in the whole play, images that relate to poison frequently occur, and are made by Iago. It seems appropriate for Iago as he exhibits poisonous characteristics of being deadly and fatal. Iago, by contaminating Othello with poisonous thoughts makes him doubt Desdemona. Iago is manipulative enough to fill Othello with anger and jealousy, and in the end, kills her, ironically with poison. Also, Shakespeares Othello portrays an allegory, the Garden of Eden. Iago is seen as the serpent who corrupts Othello; Desdemona is Eve while Othello is Adam. Othello leads her astray, just as Eve was manipulated by the serpent. Therefore, Iagos deceit is put forth by his ability to camouflage to hide his real intentions like the snake of the garden (Dodd, 2001). As such, dark and light imagery dominate the play. Desdemona symbolizes purity, thus a light image. In contrast, Iago is evil thus a dark image. Animalistic imagery is used to show how Iago manipulates the two, which leads to Desdemona being murdered.
As such, it can be concluded that Shakespeares works have effectively capitalized the use of various variety of styles, including poetic, theatric, and dramatic jargon, such as the use of imagery, dialogue, themes, protagonist, antagonist, symbolism, allegory, and fiction among others as shown in his works discussed above, and thus, I believe he is arguably the best playwright of all times.
Dailey, Alice. "The Merchant of Venice (review)." Shakespeare Bulletin. 28.4 (2011): 510-517. Print.
Dodd, William. "Shakespeare and Social Dialogue: Dramatic Language and Elizabethan Letters (review)." Shakespeare Quarterly. 52.1 (2001): 154-157. Print.
Madeleine, Richard. Hamlet as Proto-Detective Fiction. AUMLA 117 (2012): 1-11. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
Nielsen Isho, Paul. "The Prototypical Avengers in the Spanish Tragedy and Hamlet." Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Karlstads University. (2015). Web. 18 Apr, 2015.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Susanne L. Wofford. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1994. Print.
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