Shelley, Shakespeare, and Theatre

Bernard Beatty

in The Oxford Handbook of Percy Bysshe Shelley

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199558360
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Shelley, Shakespeare, and Theatre

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  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (19th Century)
  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)



This chapter discusses Shelley's engagement with both dramatic and theatrical tradition. It analyses several of his works, including Prometheus Unbound, Hellas, Swellfoot the Tyrant, The Cenci, and The Mask of Anarchy. The chapter argues that Shelley's conscious move to the theatre makes him substitute the distinction between performance and action for that between action and transformation customary in his dramas and much of his poetry. Yet this discloses the extent to which all of Shelley's poems depend upon privileging performance to a greater or lesser extent.

Keywords: Percy Bysshe Shelley; English poets; Romantic poets; Shelley's poems; plays; drama

Article.  8124 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (19th Century) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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