Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shakespeare Challenge: Six Settings

6. Setting [1] The Winter’s Tale


The setting of The Winter’s Tale beautifully conveys a sense of rejuvenation. The first half takes place in Sicily’s winter and covers what is essentially a tragedy. Sixteen years later, the second half happens mostly in Bohemia’s summer, a time of harvests, festivals, dancing, and singing, of humor, love, and forgiveness. What better way to depict the thawing out of old men’s hearts and the magic of redemption?

6. Setting [2] King Lear


King Lear is set in pre-Christain Britain, an ageless place, bereft of tangible society and context. The setting is as dark and chaotic as Lear’s mind. Even though several countries are mentioned, the play could take place in the absence of space. This emptiness directly reflects Lear’s and humanity’s absurd position at the hands of insensitive fate. Our protagonist howls into the abyss. But is there any response?

6. Setting [3] Macbeth


Macbeth’s tale of ambition and bloodshed can be set anywhere, including the 1970s (like in the hilarious Scotland, PA) or a postapocalyptic battleground. But there’s little question as to where the original is set. It is even referred to as the Scottish Play starring the Scottish King, due to theScottish Curse that brings harm when “Macbeth” is uttered in a theatre. Supposedly based on real king, Medieval Scotland is a perfect gothic setting for witches and warring factions.

6. Setting [4] A Midsummer Night’s Dream


The woods play a huge part in Shakespeare’s works. They represent magic and moral chaos, a place away from society. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, fairies reign in Athens’ ancient forests. Spells are cast, people are transformed, and couples fall in and out of love. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is often one of Shakespeare’s most visually beautiful plays due to the setting’s fantastical possibilities.

6. Setting [5] The Tempest


The Tempest is a rare Shakespearean play that follows Aristotle’s “unities” theory: unity of action, time, and place. The Tempest happens in one day on one island. The setting is of utmost importance as the magician Prospero and his daughter have been stuck on this island for more than a decade. Prospero creates a storm that shipwrecks a passing boat which carries his wicked brother. Now they are on his land, as Prospero has mastered the island and its spirits. The setting illuminates themes of colonization and the human fear of something untamed and wild.

6. Setting [6] War of the Roses


The War of the Roses tetralogy, which includes Henry VI parts one, two, and three, and Richard III, covers several decades in 15th century England. The plays are an epic retelling of political maneuvering and slaughter. The tetralogy portrays an essential part of English history, and is intriguingly complex historical propoganda.

No comments:

Post a Comment