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Title: Shakespeare and Yeats's plays : impact, influence, intertextuality
Author: Rim, Dohyun
ISNI:       0000 0001 3519 4421
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2007
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This is a study of the multi-faceted relationship between the plays of Shakespeare and W.B. Yeats. While existing studies have tended to focus on the question of poetic influence, this thesis argues that specifically theatrical questions were also at the heart of Yeats's interest in Shakespeare, and shows that these dramatic concerns were closely bound up with the system of thought Yeats developed in A Vision. Moreover, this thesis resists the limitations of an emphasis on the problematic question of influence by taking an intertextual approach that sets the plays of the two dramatists alongside one another, and examines them in terms of the wider framework of Yeats's theoretical writings. In doing so the thesis reflects the cyclical structure ofA Vision. Chapters One and Two assess the respective uses given to thresholds and masks by the two playwrights. It examines their development by Yeats as a means to representing the struggle between subjectivity and objectivity, and looks at how Yeats finds a critical stimulus for his concern with these devices in Shakespeare. The threshold is seen to originate in physical lines of demarcation on the stage which later become more sophisticated and less literal representations of liminality. Masks are considered as the functional successors to thresholds in Yeats's plays, and again both their physical and symbolic contributions are examined. Both devices are shown especially to reflect the symbolic tendencies of Shakespeare and Yeats. While masks offer one way in which a character's anti-self can be suggested, Chapter Three analyses the comparable achievement of the play-within-a-play. This self-consciously theatrical set-piece is shown to be employed by Shakespeare and Yeats as a way of confronting on-stage audiences with parallel and alternate versions of their selves. Chapter Four surveys two interlocking dramatic devices: the subplot, which is used to mirror and comment upon the main plot, and 'Shakespeare's Myth', which pairs contrasting characters in order to mutually enhance the audience's understanding of them. These devices posit subjective and objective qualities against each other. The Fool is considered as representative of subjectivity in Chapter Five, which looks at how both Shakespeare and Yeats conceive of the Fool as subversive of conventional wisdom. The analysis of self and anti-self of preceding chapters is extended. Chapter Six explores tragic joy, which is experienced by the hero in his acceptance of death. It is shown how the themes of liminality, destiny and subjectivity are conjoined in the act ofputting on a mask to confront death. In recapitulating the material of the preceding chapters the Conclusion argues that what Shakespeare and Yeats share is an interest in the subjective conflict of the soul as opposed to a concern for practical objective appearance. Shakespeare's ability to represent the soul is a great inheritance for Yeats as a symbolist dramatist because the soul is, to him, a constant subject of drama and the only subject of symbolism. The continuation of the anti-naturalistic dramatic tradition in twentieth century absurdist plays is regarded as a legacy of Shakespeare and Yeats. Supplied by The British Library - 'The world's knowledge'
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available