Coming-to-know: Recognition and the Complex Plot in Shakespeare
While there is no reason to think that Shakespeare was acquainted with Aristotle's "Poetics," a surprisingly large number of his plays display a feature that Aristotle insisted was of paramount importance in creating dramatic plots of the highest order. He called this feature "anagnorisis," which is usually rendered into English as either -recognition- or -discovery-. Although frequently identified by modern literary critics with self-knowledge or self-awareness, it may be legitimately applied to a wide range of formal as well as thematic considerations. This study adopts Aristotle's "anagnorisis" as an analytical tool that isolates recurring features of Shakespeare's plays and explores their artistic function and significance. As it happens, 15 of the 18 plays customarily classified as comedies or romances make a sufficiently conspicuous use of the device to warrant the label -recognition- play, and these constitute the special object of the present investigation."
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achieve action Aemilia's analysis Antipholus Aristotelian Aristotle Aristotle's anagnorisis audience awareness Bertram character Claudio closely cognitive Comedy of Errors coming to know coming-to-know complex plot conclusion corroboration critics Cymbeline daughter direct discovering discovery of fact discovery of personal disguise distinction dramatic Dromio Duke Egeon element Else's episode Errors evidence explain Falstaff father final scene Gentlemen Guiderius hamartia Helena Henry Hero identification Imogen important includes intention Julia King King Lear knowledge Laius Lear less Love's Labor's Lost Marina Menaechmi ment Merchant of Venice noetic object Oedipus Oedipus Rex Oedipus's passage perception Pericles Pericles's peripeteia personal identity personal recognition physical tokens play play's final Portia Posthumus present produces question realization recognition of persons recognition scene recognize reference relation resembles reunion revealing reversal ring Rosalind says Sebastian sense Shakespeare significant simple speak term testimony Thaisa thematic thou tion tragedy tragic Troilus truth Twelfth Night Viola visual words