Twelfth Night | Critical Essay by Harvey Birenbaum

This literature criticism consists of approximately 20 pages of analysis & critique of Twelfth Night.
This section contains 7,996 words
(approx. 27 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Alice Rayner

Critical Essay by Harvey Birenbaum

SOURCE: “Consciousness and Responsibility in Macbeth,” in Mosaic, Vol. 15, No. 2, June, 1982, pp. 17-32.

In the following essay, Birenbaum studies the tragic consciousness—“the prolonged agony of awareness”—apparent in the moral decline of Macbeth.

Some central Shakespearean characters such as Cleopatra, Richard II and Macbeth all violate, emphatically, ethical suppositions usual in our culture. It therefore is easy enough for reader-spectators, when they think about the plays, to deplore the excesses of these wicked protagonists and to try to distinguish their greatness or their potentiality from their faults. Richard, for one, reveals at John of Gaunt's death a callous flippancy which repels and angers us. We are repelled properly, by dramatic strategy, but we need neither chastise Richard nor forgive him. We are being led, rather, a degree deeper into...

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This section contains 7,996 words
(approx. 27 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Alice Rayner