chapter  11
Character and Ideology in Shakespeare
ByJoseph A. Porter
Pages 15

Berger's project repeatedly entails characterological discriminations, as between 'the character's perspective and the reader's'. He draws some of these distinctions from, or in response to, other recent Shakespeare study that itself handles character, as when he responds to the distinction drawn by Stephen Booth between 'characters as fictive persons and characters as theatrical commodities'. The volatility of character in Shakespeare's moment shows both lexically and conceptually. The decline of the prestige of the New Criticism and of other sorts of mid-century totalizing stances such as that of Northrop Frye might have been expected to signal a re-legitimization of characterology. Shakespearean characterology at the present time stands in the most richly unstable moment of its history, and ideology figures in it everywhere. The modern Western idea of character or individuality, like other modern Western ideas, is currently in flux within Shakespeare study as without, and further change seems likely in the shape and function of the idea and its associated ideology.