Shakespearian Problem Play Analysis

1434 Words 6 Pages
Adnan Riaz
Professor
Shakespearian Problem Plays
Date:
All’s Well that Ends Well as a “Problem Play”
All’s well that ends well is a famous play by William Shakespeare that has grabbed serious critical appreciation in the Twentieth Century for its style and Problems it gives birth to and discusses. It was written in 1604 and1605 and was published in the First Folio in 1623. Gray Waller gives an in-depth view of the play.
In the last twenty years has an adequate critical vocabulary been developed to appreciate, even to describe, All’s Well, and in recent years it has engendered both intense critical debate and diverse and often spectacularly successful productions…words used to describe its first production in 1741—an “unfortunate” comedy but
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Interestingly, like some other Labled “Shakespearian Problem Plays” this work also changed its category in the process of deliberation of the distinctions it relies on. All’s Well that ends well, was included in the First Flolio 1623 with the tag of “Comedy” but, later readers and critics found it a specimen of the Shakespearian “Problem Plays”. “It was overwhelmingly judged as a failed comedy and, as if to stress the distinctiveness of its failure, labeled as a “problem play” or “problem comedy,” terminology which originated with F. S. Boas in 1896” (Gray Waller). The image of this newly filed work in the Seventeenth century gave it the title of the “Shakespearian Comedies”. Somehow, the pain in enigma may be imminent in the work enough describing it more of a grave nature and tone than the previously understood and thus included on the list of Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado about Nothing, Troilus and Cressida, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and even …show more content…
Dr. Johnson is very critical of Bertram, “I cannot reconcile my heart to Bertram; a man noble without truth; who marries Helena as a coward, and leaves her as a profligate: when she is dead by his unkindness, sneaks home to a second marriage, is accused by a woman whom he has wronged, defends himself by falsehood, and is dismissed to happiness. (Dr. Johnson)” On the other hand, the creation of Helena is fabulous marked with certain qualities of resistance and commitment and of fortitude and resilience. Coleridge calls her “Shakespeare’s loveliest creation”.
All’s well emphasizes equally on the both aspects of the human feelings; the instincts sadness and joyfulness. William Shakespeare, with a tone suited for the both respects of emotions, leaves a certain question for the readers about the underlying intensity of the play. “The play is both comedy of wit and romance of suffering. This bivalence motivates many of the features that led generations of critics and theatregoers to label it a “problem play,” Revising the Sources: Novella, Romance, and the Meanings of Fiction in All’s Well, That Ends Well STEVEN

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