In This Good Time: <i>Cardenio</i> and the Temporal Character of Shakespearean Drama

Matthew Wagner

in The Quest for Cardenio

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199641819
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191749025 | DOI:
In This Good Time: Cardenio and the Temporal Character of Shakespearean Drama

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This chapter considers Cardenio from a time-centred perspective; it examines the 2009 performance script of The History of Cardenio, Gary Taylor’s ‘creative reconstruction’ of the lost Shakespeare/Fletcher collaboration, to compare that script’s treatment of time with prominent temporal characteristics of Shakespearean drama. Of a wide variety of such characteristics, two emerge as most germane to Cardenio: the play’s prevalent thematic interest in time, and the era’s emblematic and iconographic traditions associated with time. In particular, the chapter analyses the relationship between time and death, especially as figured in varying mementi mori, most notably the coffin in Cardenio. From these explorations, the chapter strives to illuminate some key aspects of the play itself (while acknowledging that the ‘play itself’ is yet evolving), and to aid in positioning the play within the broader framework of the Shakespearean canon.

Keywords: time; iconography; dramaturgy; emblems; memento mori; coffin; death; Shakespeare; History of Cardenio; Gary Taylor

Chapter.  6042 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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