The manifold discrediting, outmanoeuvring, scapegoating, and evasion of subversive forces in Shakespeares middle plays testify to a deep textual anxiety not something the text concerns, but something that concerns it - centring on the competing claims of order and disorder. One source of such anxiety may be the continuing formal allegiance of comedies and histories alike to the principle of renewal through the very subversion that calls their values and goals into question. In order to maintain their claim on this process, the power of disruptive energy must be conjured and experienced even as it is resisted. Folly, too, must be enlisted in the cause, however marginalised and confined. Rebirth continues to require symbolic death, a return to chaos. There is more to this than a reductively materialist approach allows: one is put in mind of the religious impulse to renew the sense of salvation by confronting, and even temporarily succumbing to, the devil.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Love’s Tyranny Inside-out in the Problem Plays: Yours, Mine, and Counter-mine
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number