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Shakespeare always presents both his ideas and his character types contrapuntally, offering a response and a qualification,

another way of looking at things, within the play itself. Despite a concerted attempt to find it, there is no Shakespearean point of view, so that claims like Shakespeare said or Shakespeare believed or Shakespeare tells usclaims that sometimes seem to imply an authoritative and consistent philosophical consciousnesscan always be e posed by looking at the conte t of the quotation. Shakespeare!s plays do not have a single voice, a lyric ", or a focali#ed character through whom the audience or reader is tacitly e pected to interpret the play. $ven in the e treme case of %amlet!s musings, or in the more general case of the dramatic soliloquy, a powerful Shakespearean medium &often, again, e cerpted as if it were an embedded lyric poem, a performance piece', the audience is given e tensive evidence within the play to (udge and evaluate the truth claims and ethical assertions that are so eloquently set forth by these charismatic speakers.

)here has always been a productive tension between the idea of the play as a poem or a te t and the idea of the play as a performance. Some portions of Shakespeare!s plays are inaccessible to us because they are made up of spectacles or performances rather than words. $ amples include the masque in )he )empest* the apparitions in +acbeth* the tilt, or challenge, in ,ericles* the descended god -upiter in .ymbeline* and music throughout the comedies, including the music that is the food of love in /rsino!s opening speech in )welfth 0ight, but that has, by the end of the speech, become not so sweet now as it was before. 1attle scenes, like those in the $nglish history plays and in 2ntony and .leopatra, are also moments of high visual interest and onstage action, important to the tenor and pace of the play, and easy to underestimate &or skip over entirely' if one reads the plays as literature rather than visuali#ing them as theater

Some of the earlier, unauthori#ed copies have their own liveliness, a freshness that offers a glimpse of the spirit of this emerging and transgressive early modern theater. 2 good e ample can be found in the much3maligned 4irst 5uarto version of one of %amlet!s most famous speeches6

)o be or not to be", there!s the point,)o Die, to sleep, is that all7 ", all60o, to sleep, to dream, ", mary, there it goes,4or in that dream of death, when we awake,2nd borne before an everlasting -udge,4rom whence no passenger ever returned,)he undiscovered country, at whose sight)he happy smile, and the accursed damned.1ut for this, the (oyful hope of this,8ho!d bear the scorns and flattery of the world,Scorned by the right rich, the rich cursed of the poor7)he widow being oppressed, the orphan wronged,)he taste of hunger, or a tyrant!s reign,2nd thousand more calamities besides,)o grunt and sweat under this weary life,8hen that he his full quietus make,8ith a bare bodkin, who would this endure,1ut for a hope of something after death78hich

pu##les the brain, and doth confound the sense, 8hich makes us rather bear those evils we have,)han fly to others that we know not of.", that, / this conscience makes cowards of us all9. %amlet, 4irst 5uarto, :.;.<=>?;

Shakespeare appears very frequently in @eats!s letters, never more powerfully than in his celebrated notion of negative capability, in which he described his sudden reali#ation, after a debate with a very definite3minded friend, of the essential quality to form a +an of 2chievement especially in Aiterature and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously" mean 0egative .apability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, +ysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.;B 2 poet, especially a great poet, needs to leave his mind open to ideas and to conflicting realities, and the preeminent model for this was Shakespeare. )he poetical .haracter avoids the egotistical sublime, @eats wrote in another letter. "t has no character9. "t has as much delight in conceiving an "ago as an "mogen.;C "ago is here imagined as the arch3villain.

,eter 1rook!s landmark production of 2 +idsummer 0ight!s Dream at the Doyal Shakespeare )heatre in ;EF= transformed the play, taking what had been a vehicle for gau#y sets and lambent lighting and transforming it into a white space with toys and a trape#e. 1ut before him, +a Deinhardt in Germany had sensed something else about the Dream, something dark and dangerous. 8hen Deinhardt came to %ollywood in the years before 8orld 8ar "", he made a film of 2 +idsummer 0ight!s Dream, with +ickey Dooney as ,uck and -oe $. 1rown as 4lute, that told another story about the play.

The identity of words-the simple, fundamental fact of language, that there are fewer terms of designation than there are things to designate-is itself a two-sided experience: it reveals words as the unexpected meeting place of the most distant figures of reality. (It is distance abolished; at the point of contact, differences are brought together in a uni ue form: dual, ambiguous, !inotaur-li"e.# It demonstrates

the duality of language which starts from a simple core, divides itself in two, and produces new figures. (It$s a proliferation of distance, a void created in the wa"e of the double, a labyrinthine extension of corridors which seem similar and yet are different.# In their wealth of poverty words always refer away from and lead bac" to themselves; The Cushions of the Billiard Table they are lost and found again; they fix a vanishing point on the hori%on by repeated division, and then return to the starting point in a perfect curve. The mystified guests must have reali%ed this while going around the billiard table, when they discovered that the straight line of words was identical to their circular path. &ighteenth-century grammarians well understood this marvelous property of language to extract wealth from its own poverty. In their purely empirical concept of signs, they admired the way a word was capable of separating itself from the visible form to which it was tied by its 'signification' in order to settle on another form, designating it with an ambiguity which is both its resource and limitation. (t that point language indicates the source of an internal movement; its ties to its meaning can undergo a metamorphosis without its having to change its form, as if it had turned in on itself, tracing around a fixed point (the 'meaning' of the word, as they used to say# a circle of possibilities which allows for chance, coincidence, effects, and all the rules of the game. )et$s consult *umarsais,+ one of the subtlest grammarians of the period: 'The same words obviously had to be used in different ways. It$s been found that this admirable expedient could ma"e discourse more energetic and pleasing. ,or has it been overloo"ed that it could be turned into a game and a source of pleasure. Thus by necessity and by choice, words are often turned away from their original meaning to ta"e on a new one which is more or less removed but that still maintains a connection. This new meaning is called $tropological,$ and this conversion, this turning away which produces it, is called a $trope.$ 'In the space created by this displacement, all the forms of rhetoric come to life-the twists and turns, as *umarsais
+-esar *umarsais, Les Tropes, . vols. (/aris, 0101#. The first edition is dated 023-.

*&(T4 (,* T4& )(567I,T4

would put it: catachresis, metonymy, metalepsis, synecdoche, antonomasia, litotes, metaphors, hypallage, and many other hieroglyphs drawn by the rotation of words into the voluminous mass of language. 7oussel$s experiment is located in what could be called the 'tropological space' of vocabulary. It$s not uite the grammarian$s space, or rather it is this same space, but treated differently. It is not where the canonical figures of speech originate, but that neutral space within language where the hollowness of the word is shown as an insidious void, arid and a trap. 7oussel considers this game, which rhetoric exploited to extend its meaning, as a gap that is stretched open as wide as possible and meticulously measured. 4e felt there is, beyond the uasi-liberties of expression, an absolute emptiness of being that he must surround, dominate, and overwhelm with pure invention: that is what he calls, in opposition to reality, thought ('8ith me imagination is everything'#. 4e doesn$t want to duplicate the reality of another world, but, in the spontaneous duality of language, he wants to discover an unexpected space, and to cover it with things never said before. The forms he will construct above this void will methodically reverse the 'elements of style.' 3tyle is-according to the necessity of the words used-the possibility, mas"ed and identified at the same time, of saying the same thing but in other ways. (ll of 7oussel$s language, in its reversal of style, surreptitiously tries to say two things with the same words. The twisting, slight turn of words which ordinarily allows them to ma"e a tropological 'move' that brings into play their fundamental freedom is used by 7oussel to form an inexorable circle which returns words to their point of origin by force of his constraining rules.