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Title:Temptation in Shakespeare's Plays
Author(s):Holloway, Brian Ray
Department / Program:English
Discipline:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Literature, English
Abstract:Although temptation appears in all drama, every age defines problems of choice and conscience in unique ways, thus explaining temptation with unique concepts. Although now we analyze problems of moral choice in terms of the modern psychology to which we are accustomed, the Renaissance interpreted temptation in the light of religious beliefs inherited from medieval culture. Shakespeare's contemporaries held that each of the temptations of Adam and Eve recurred in the devil's testing of Christ in the wilderness, and thought that in both instances the lures used represented types of the temptations diabolically designed to ensnare humanity. Furthermore, exegetes constructed a psychology of temptation and of its resistance. Both the biblical episodes and the commentary upon them furnished authors with ready-made patterns for literary episodes.
Shakespeare, a practical dramatist, was one of the authors who exploited such patterns. Traditional concepts of temptation appear in their most obvious role in Richard III, unifying the play thematically and structurally, and seeming to emerge naturally as a consequence of Richard's diabolical role-playing. In later works such as Measure for Measure and The Tempest, the obvious and traditional examples of temptation seem to disappear. Actually, these plays reveal a mature artistry, in which traditional concepts become disguised and elaborated. Measure for Measure chronicles a world in which citizens tempt each other, Angelo tempts the citizens, and the Duke "assays" Angelo. Prospero administers various temptations, which serve as trials of character, to the principals in The Tempest. And in both later plays, traditional concepts of temptation influence the structure.
Issue Date:1981
Type:Text
Language:English
Description:160 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/66343
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8127609
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1981


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