Chapter

Shakespeare: Scepticism and Tragedy

Stephen Mulhall

in Stanley Cavell

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238508
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679643 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198238508.003.0010
Shakespeare: Scepticism and Tragedy

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Cavell understands that the problematic known to philosophy as scepticism is under examination in Shakespearean texts in the form of tragedy. This chapter examines his reading of The Winter's Tale in some detail. Cavell understands our relation to Shakespearean dramatic art in terms of his model of redemptive reading. This aspect of Cavell's interest in Shakespeare is woven into every one of the readings of particular plays he has published since ‘The Avoidance of Love’. Just as his understanding of the nature of scepticism is altered by its specific appearance and development in each of those plays, so his understanding of the process of redemption or recovery that the plays themselves work to achieve in their audience is differently inflected in each case. Perhaps the most important of these readings, in terms of their influence on Cavell's conception of both levels of his interpretative project, is his essay on The Winter's Tale entitled ‘Recounting Gains, Showing Losses’.

Keywords: Cavell; Shakespearean drama; scepticism; The Winter's Tale; redemptive reading

Chapter.  4865 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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