Cosmetics and Poetics in Shakespearean Comedy

Farah Karim-Cooper

in Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780748619931
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652204 | DOI:
Cosmetics and Poetics in Shakespearean Comedy

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This chapter concentrates on Shakespeare's use of cosmetic signifiers as ingredients on the stage and tropes on the page, in constructing his own dramatic art in two comedies: A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Love's Labour's Lost. To do this, it is important first to provide some background about the use of cosmetics in early modern theatre and their utility in staging particularly Elizabethan dramatic devices. Second, the chapter explores how Shakespeare, in these two plays, legitimates cosmetics in artistic terms by evoking their materiality within a poetic and theatrical context. Shakespeare used cosmetic metaphors in A Midsummer Night's Dream and dramatised the relationship between love and cosmetic mutability. He used cosmetic signifiers in Love's Labour's Lost to explore contemporary formulations of poetic models and the correct uses of rhetorical language. Shakespeare also employed cosmetic analogies to represent the opposing definitions within a dramatic context.

Keywords: Shakespeare; Midsummer Night's Dream; Love's Labour's Lost; cosmetic signifiers; cosmetic metaphors; love

Chapter.  8505 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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