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Shakespeare's Darkness: A stage and state of mind


Bronfen, Elisabeth (2020). Shakespeare's Darkness: A stage and state of mind. In: Dunn, Nick; Edensor, Tim. Rethinking Darkness: Culture, Histories, Practices. London: Routledge, 38-49.

Abstract

The premise of this chapter is that the darkness of night in Shakespeare’s plays is both a stage and a state of mind, a phenomenological experience and a psychic condition. Not only is darkness what helps lovers escape, what allows visions to arise, what brings both wonder and terror. It is also the signifier for that state of adventure and recognition upon which a return to the ordinary is predicated. To bring light implies that any form of self-discovery requires darkness, not only as its backdrop but also as a creative entity. The question thus also to be explored is what closures those plays that make particular use of darkness find. Is darkness ultimately dispelled or are elements of darkness – and one might think of the sober morning at the end of Romeo and Juliet – carried into the day? Or does everything, as in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, end in night?

Abstract

The premise of this chapter is that the darkness of night in Shakespeare’s plays is both a stage and a state of mind, a phenomenological experience and a psychic condition. Not only is darkness what helps lovers escape, what allows visions to arise, what brings both wonder and terror. It is also the signifier for that state of adventure and recognition upon which a return to the ordinary is predicated. To bring light implies that any form of self-discovery requires darkness, not only as its backdrop but also as a creative entity. The question thus also to be explored is what closures those plays that make particular use of darkness find. Is darkness ultimately dispelled or are elements of darkness – and one might think of the sober morning at the end of Romeo and Juliet – carried into the day? Or does everything, as in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, end in night?

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > General Earth and Planetary Sciences
Social Sciences & Humanities > General Social Sciences
Language:English
Date:2020
Deposited On:21 Dec 2020 15:26
Last Modified:05 Feb 2021 08:10
Publisher:Routledge
ISBN:9780429259654
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429259654-4
Related URLs:https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/rethinking-darkness-nick-dunn-tim-edensor/e/10.4324/9780429259654?context=ubx&refId=408ff584-3309-4240-b008-17667d82f632 (Publisher)

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