SOLILOQUIES FROM THE TRAGEDIES
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SOLILOQUIES FROM THE TRAGEDIES book
If we want to become acquainted with Shakespeare's soliloquies at the peak of their development we must look at the soliloquies of the tragic heroes. The unfolding of the playwright's creativity is illustrated here by passages from six tragedies familiar to most readers and theatregoers. In the monologues and scenes presented in this chapter we encounter everything that is most distinctive of the art of characterization in Shakespeare's greatest plays: the illuminating compactness of expression; the portrayal of thoughts and emotions by means of forceful images appealing to the senses; the encompassing of the whole of human nature, in all its contradictory diversity. The skill with which Shakespeare integrates the soliloquies in the drama is at its most accomplished in these speeches. The dramatic quality of the soliloquies, which has been referred to several times, is enhanced; many ways of including an element of dialogue in the monologue are found, providing new and unusual forms of interlocution. In Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus and TimonofAthens we find examples of further functions and uses of the soliloquy. These speeches, however, do not have the weight or the significance of those included in this chapter; for this reason, and because oflimitations of space, they are not dealt with in our study.