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What did Shakespeare know?

"...to demand of the historical critic that he should in all circumsstances limit himself to seeing in a Shakespeare play only as much as the dramatist himself might have seen and in something like the very terms in which he would have seen it is to ask, in large measure, that literary studies should be stopped. (Watson 33).

It is impossible to know what an author intended. And I agree with the quote above, if it is demanded of the critic to limit himself only to what the author intended then as critics we lose focus on what is deeper inside the text. Knowing the authors intent is a great place to start, but critics must dig deeper. It's like we talked about in class last week. Even if we had Shakespeare sitting in our classroom telling us exactly what he wanted us to get out of The Tempest, how many people would argue with him that they discovered even more than he was giving? And how would his opinion change from when he wrote the drama to now?


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Comments (2)

Bethany Merryman:

I agree, I think it's important to remember that an author doesn't necessarily plan every single interpretation in his or her mind. And often I find it difficult to believe what today's authors say. For instance, did J.K. Rowling really write Dumbledore as a homosexual character, or did she just run with it for publicity? I dunno...just an example.

james lohr:

Does it really matter what the author "intended" as long as there is a communication between work and reader? If the author intended message A, but reader sees message B, which one is right?

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 10, 2009 7:38 AM.

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