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Posted on June 9th, 2012, by

No theme of Shakespeare’s resounds more powerfully with modern audiences than his treatment of war. At first glance, he may seem to glorify the experience, for in several works, monumental battles provide a dramatic conclusion. Shakespeare, however, never romanticizes the reality of warfare. Indeed, he emphasizes the barbarism of this ever-present aspect of existence. To be sure, he presents individuals who perform bravely in combat, but these exploits never supersede the images of brutality and death that are intrinsic to this most horrible of human enterprises. One way in which the playwright communicates the madness of war is through the structure of the plot. For Shakespeare, warfare represented the breakdown of the social order, and he portrays this chaos in […]

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