1981 | 2 |
Article title

Zbrodnia jako temat tragedii czasów Szekspira

Title variants
Crime as Tragic theme in Shakespear's time
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It is not an accident that crime, especially murder, is a frequent theme of tragedy. From its beginning to its final consequences it is fraught with dramatic tension, suspense, expectations, and a great variety of strong emotions. Besides, crime, like disease, is understood to be something antihuman and antisocial and therefore is treated as an event alien to life, with its own inception, development, and ending. This lends to it the character of a dramatic composition parallel with the clasical tragedy. The theme of crime is to be found in Greek tragedies. An analysis of Aischylos' Oresteia shows how important moral issues were involved in the presentation of crime on the stage and that some attention was paid to the technique of crime. Seneca's Thy estes published in English in 1560 became an inspiration for Kyd and other Elizabethan authors of tragedies of revenge. A list may be made of 20 English tragedies the theme of which is crime, from The Spanish Tragedy (1584— 1589) to Philip Massinger's The Roman Actor (1629). Shakespeare is represented on the list by seven plays, which is significant. A survey of the twenty tragedies shows a wide variety of crime though murder prevails. Many different techniques of killing are used. The Machiavellian criminal and his varieties are discussed with their motivation. Contemporaneous real crimes and stories of real crimes in the past are referred to the tragedies. The latter part of the paper is devoted to Shakespeare's place among the playwrights. Detailed analyses of Titus Andronicus and Hamlet show that Shakespeare progressed from cheap sensational horror to a high drama of crime. Both the plays are remarkable for the presence in them of the element of detection. Hamlet is a great tragedy of crime and detection in which the death of the detective suggests profound reflections on the moral sense of life and the chances of justice. At the same time the tragedy contains many features of the other Elizabethan tragedies with crime as their theme.
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