Neil Rathmell – writer

150+ essays on literary topics

Tag Archives: Shakespeare

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

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

Shakespeare’s only one act play

A Yorkshire Tragedy is not one of Shakespeare’s better known plays. It was listed in the Stationers’ Register in 1608 as a play by William Shakespeare first performed by the … Continue reading

October 7, 2020 · Leave a comment

Shakespeare and the invention of theatre

There were no theatres when Shakespeare was a boy. The plays he watched would have been performed either in a church or on the street, unless he was fortunate enough … Continue reading

September 24, 2020 · Leave a comment

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