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An Analysis of Characters and the Theme of Innocence and Purity in William Shakespeare's Plays: Romeo and Juliet, Othello, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Merchant of Venice
Word Count: 1,766
This is an analysis of charecters in selected works from the course Including Romeo and Juliet Othello A Midsummers Night Dream The Merchant of Venice It traces Shakspeares notions of innocence and compares many characters throughout the aforementioned works Matthew Tjosvold English Lit 3000 May 5 2003 Final Paper Several of Shakespeares plays contain a reoccurring theme of innocence or purity lost through the impurity of others The innocence or purity may only correspond to one aspect of a characters personality or background For instance in Romeo and Juliet it is Mercutios bloodline that renders him innocent while in Othello it is Othellos inexperience with Venetian society that defines his innocence Shakespeare repeatedly uses the impurity of the surrounding characters to manipulate and withdraw this purity and innocence sometimes leading to comedy and other times leading to tragedy This paper draws on five characters from Shakespeares works each character is innocent in his own unique way and each time that innocence is lost through the hands of others The escapade of Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Nights Dream illustrates a comical example of innocence being corrupted and manipulated by the actions of others Granted Bottom is so overconfident that he never realizes his innocence is at stake and his character retains its ridiculousness throughout the play However this instance serves as a simple example of how Shakespeare toys with the idea of purity in impure surroundings Bottoms innocence is defined in terms his overconfidence and ridiculousness indeed he holds an astounding belief in his own abilities as an actor That will ask some tears in the true performing of it if I do it let the audience look to their eyes I will move storms I will condole in some measure To the rest yet my chief humour is for a tyrant I could play Ercles rarely or a part to tear a cat in to make all split Act
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