Neil Rathmell

100+ essays on literary topics

Was Shakespeare a socialist?

The question has been asked before. Like the question I asked in another essay, Was Shakespeare a Catholic? it is impossible to answer. All I could say about that was … Continue reading

July 10, 2017 · Leave a comment

Lear’s Fool

Feste, the Fool (or Clown) in Twelfth Night, turns up in Act I after an unexplained absence. ‘Nay,’ Maria says to him, ‘either tell me where thou hast been, or … Continue reading

December 1, 2016 · Leave a comment

The comedy of Troilus and Cressida

Troilus and Cressida is sometimes thought of as one of Shakespeare’s Problem Plays, but I think of it as a comedy. Not a romantic comedy, like A Midsummer Night’s Dream … Continue reading

November 1, 2016 · Leave a comment

Macbeth and me

Shakespeare’s Macbeth is as much poem as play. The essence of the drama is not in the action but in the words and in the unfolding of metaphor. It begins … Continue reading

September 28, 2016 · Leave a comment

Shakespeare’s girls

Shakespeare’s girls have grown up too quickly. Juliet was only thirteen in 1595 when Romeo and Juliet was written. ‘She hath not seen the change of fourteen years,’ Capulet tells … Continue reading

September 14, 2016 · Leave a comment

Hamlet, a post-Reformation tragedy

Francisco, an ‘honest soldier’, has only eight lines, but he sets the tone for the whole play when he says, in Act I, scene 1 of Hamlet, that he is … Continue reading

August 31, 2016 · Leave a comment

Proust, Einstein and the modern European novel

In the hundred years or so since Marcel Proust wrote A la recherche du temps perdu, Time has become one of the dominant themes of European literature. Patrick Modiano, W.G.Sebald, … Continue reading

August 17, 2016 · Leave a comment