Neil Rathmell – writer

150+ essays on literary topics

Category Archives: drama

Making it up

Each new novel is the start of another phone call from a scammer.

August 29, 2021 · Leave a comment

Shakespeare the realist

Shakespeare could always see the funny side. His first comedy, A Comedy of Errors, was based on Menaechmi (The Twins) by the Roman playwright, Plautus, the Ben Elton of ancient … Continue reading

August 16, 2021 · Leave a comment

In the beginning were the words

There are certain words and phrases that are so closely linked to a particular source that the association is never lost. Such words and phrases must be used cautiously, if … Continue reading

May 4, 2021 · Leave a comment

Just an ordinary man

Shakespeare drew on various sources for the plot of King Lear, but what he made of them was a play about growing old, based on people he knew. If we … Continue reading

February 10, 2021 · 1 Comment

Again! Again!

It is a refrain familiar to parents who read bedtime stories to their children. A familiar story can never be heard often enough and must be told as nearly as … Continue reading

January 27, 2021 · Leave a comment

No such thing as Shakespearean tragedy

The best actors  in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem unlimited: Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light. … Continue reading

January 13, 2021 · Leave a comment

Did Shakespeare believe in fairies?

Fairies appear only twice in Shakespeare’s plays, first in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, an early play, his first masterpiece, then in The Tempest, his last. The plays have a lot … Continue reading

December 16, 2020 · Leave a comment

Rupert Brooke, playwright

Rupert Brooke’s range is wider than he is usually given credit for, both in form and content. Lust, an early poem about sex, consensual or otherwise, begins with the usual … Continue reading

December 2, 2020 · Leave a comment

Why do people find Chekhov boring?

The short answer is that in Chekhov’s plays nothing happens. His subject is boredom. Nobody actually says, as Estragon says at the beginning of Waiting for Godot, “Nothing to be … Continue reading

November 17, 2020 · Leave a comment

Period drama

Period drama has been a staple of British television for as long as anyone can remember. Classic novels of the past, including nearly everything by Charles Dickens, have been dramatised … Continue reading

October 21, 2020 · Leave a comment