“I Am Not What I Am”: Shakespeare's Scripted Subject

Joel B. Altman

in The Improbability of Othello

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780226016108
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226016122 | DOI:
“I Am Not What I Am”: Shakespeare's Scripted Subject

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This chapter focuses on a recurrent event in many plays: the conscious act of self-departure and the assumption of a new ethos or several of them, which often results in adhesions that last beyond the ostensible motive for change. It then relates this representational phenomenon to procedures followed in putting new playscripts together. As Philip Henslowe's account books reveal, the common routine was to hire an author or authors to fashion a plot and, if approved, to develop it into appropriate scenes. In the process, the chapter argues, generic dramatis personae became specific characters responding to time, place, and circumstances. Analysis of existing author plots and of plays, both familiar and obscure, corroborate this reading.

Keywords: self-departure; ethos; playscripts; plots; plays; personae

Chapter.  11482 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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