Neil Rathmell – writer

150+ essays on literary topics

Tag Archives: Shakespeare

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

Tottel’s Miscellany

In 1557 Richard Tottel published the first anthology of English verse, the forerunner of Palgrave’s Golden Treasury and the Penguin Book of English verse. Tottel’s book, which came to be … Continue reading

May 11, 2016 · Leave a comment

Based on a story by…

If Shakespeare were alive now he would have been obliged to advertise his new play as being based on a story by Robert Greene. He would also have needed Greene’s … Continue reading

April 13, 2016 · Leave a comment

Poems in October

Shakespeare, Keats and Dylan Thomas wrote, in Sonnet 73, To Autumn and Poem in October respectively, not about a season but about death. When poets write about one thing, they … Continue reading

October 14, 2015 · 1 Comment

Burying Shakespeare

First, the canal. Othello, thinks the designer, is set in Venice, so let’s have a canal, let’s start the play with Iago and Rodrigo sailing onto the stage in a … Continue reading

September 2, 2015 · Leave a comment

From Shakespeare to Hardy

It may seem outlandish to compare the early novels of Thomas Hardy to the late plays of William Shakespeare, but reading Far From The Madding Crowd for the second time … Continue reading

April 22, 2015 · 1 Comment