Author Archives: Olivia Bauer

Isabella’s Persuasion

Why does Isabella fail to persuade Angelo to spare Claudio’s life? Bernice Kliman, in her article, Isabella in Measure for Measure, states that it is because she fails to use the formulaic rhetoric established by ad Herennium, one of Shakespeare’s sources for Measure for Measure. But is Kliman’s characterization of Isabella true to the text or colored by the literary comparisons she chose to make? 

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Thompson’s Rosalind

Sophie Thompson played both the roles of Celia and Rosalind, in succession with different companies. According to her essay, Rosalind (and Celia) in As You Like It, having played Celia before taking on the role of Rosalind informed how she embodied Rosalind. As the characters are so intertwined throughout the play this is hardly surprising. But did the playing of Celia impact how Thompson played Rosalind in a beneficial way? Continue reading

You Win or You Die

… when you play the Game of Thrones. The similarities between Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part I (1H4) and George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones (GoT) are uncanny, and have not gone unnoticed. With the BBC’s Hollow Crown mini series, which featured 1H4 in the second episode, there was a surge in comparisons between the play and Martin’s books and the resulting HBO series; dozens of news articles and reviews reference the two works of literature in connection with each other. But are these comparisons founded in real similarities in the texts? Beyond turbulent monarchies, and violent battles what do GoT and 1H4 actually have in common?

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Portia’s Intellect and Femininity

Is Portia the hero of The Merchant of Venice? Can a woman considered a hero at all? Can Portia even be viewed positively? Julie Hankey, in the essay Victorian Portias: Shakespeare’s Borderline Heroine, reviews how the reception and subsequent performance of Portia evolved through the Victorian era from a disparaged, under appreciated woman to a valued and celebrated character.

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“Fantasy” and Love

The word “fantasy” has a fairly obvious connection to A Midsummer Night’s Dream; fairies, magical juice from a flower, a human with a donkey head. But if the play is examined through the lens of the word “fantasy” not in terms of the supernatural, but for how perception relates to reality, then the use of the word “fantasy” may shine a new light on the play.  Continue reading