Neil Rathmell – writer

100+ essays on literary topics

Tag Archives: Shakespeare

The five acts and four intervals of Henry VIII

Shakespeare’s last play was not The Tempest, but Henry VIII, which was written some two years later. It is easy to read The Tempest as Shakespeare’s farewell to the stage … Continue reading

July 31, 2020 · Leave a comment

Shakespeare and the modern novel

Shakespeare must have read anything and everything that came his way, not just the sources for his plays, which are well known, not just the classical authors who, if Ben … Continue reading

March 16, 2020 · Leave a comment

Going the extra foot

The widely held belief that Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameters is based on a misunderstanding, the result of a misguided attempt on the part of literary scholars to apply the … Continue reading

January 7, 2019 · Leave a comment

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

Was Shakespeare a Catholic?

Whether Shakespeare was a Catholic is and will always be a moot point. The only thing we can say with any certainty is that his grandfather was. The only way … Continue reading

July 6, 2016 · Leave a comment