The first striking feature of Shakespeare’s plays is the variety of interpretations they allow. His language is compact, flexible and full of meaning.
Shakespeare does not take his characters from only a social class, but in his plays the main characters were always men of royal or aristocratic blood, a king, a prince, a duke. Another important feature is the importance of family ties: father and children, brother and sister.
Finally there are the symmetrical correspondences: three ladies and three lord, two hostile families.
At the beginning or during the scene the reader find stage directions. Most of these were added by the editors. Shakespeare asks for the active co-operation of the reader in making play come alive in his imagination.
Shakespeare enables the reader to see the action both on the stage and in the distance by making him visions, memories, presentiments.
Shakespeare does not give great significance to the division between the acts. In the Elizabethan theatre there was no curtain fall between the acts and the scenes was continues, without break. The play ends when all the actors had left the stage.
S. used different levels of speech. The characters may suddenly switch from everyday prose to solemn verse. There is sometimes an insertion of allegorical scenes, music and dances.
The language is characterised by a multiplicity of language levels, by a wide variety of rhetorical figures. Shakespeare respected the regular black-verse line. The themes are hinted at the plot. Shakespeare sometimes leaves some questions open and deliberately leaves the audiences in the dark, so that we continue to ponder over the answer to the puzzle after the play is over.
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