Shakespeare, Madness, and Music: Scoring Insanity in Cinematic Adaptations

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Scarecrow Press, Jul 9, 2009 - Performing Arts - 164 pages
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Shakespeare's three political tragedies_Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear_have numerously been presented or adapted on film. These three plays all involve the recurring trope of madness, which, as constructed by Shakespeare, provided a wider canvas on which to detail those materials that could not be otherwise expressed: sexual desire and expectation, political unrest, and, ultimately, truth, as excavated by characters so afflicted. Music has long been associated with madness, and was often used as an audible symptom of a victim's disassociation from their surroundings and societal rules, as well as their loss of self-control. In Shakespeare, Madness, and Music: Scoring Insanity in Cinematic Adaptations, Kendra Preston Leonard examines the use of music in Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear. Whether discussing contemporary source materials, such as songs, verses, or rhymes specified by Shakespeare in his plays, or music composed specifically for a film and original to the director's or composer's interpretations, Leonard shows how the changing social and scholarly attitudes towards the plays, their characters, and the conditions that fall under the general catch-all of 'madness' have led to a wide range of musical accompaniments, signifiers, and incarnations of the afflictions displayed by Shakespeare's characters. Focusing on the most widely distributed and viewed adaptations of these plays for the cinema, each chapter presents the musical treatment of individual Shakespearean characters afflicted with or feigning madness: Hamlet, Ophelia, Lady Macbeth, King Lear, and Edgar. The book offers analysis and interpretation of the music used to underscore, belie, or otherwise inform or invoke the characters' states of mind, providing a fascinating indication of culture and society, as well as the thoughts and ideas of individual directors, composers, and actors. A bibliography, index, and appendix listing Shakespeare's film adaptations help complete this fascinating volume.
 

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Contents

Chapter 01 Shakespeare Madness and Music
1
Chapter 02 Hamlet
7
Chapter 03 Ophelia
35
Chapter 04 Lady Macbeth
69
Chapter 05 King Lear
97
Chapter 06 Edgar
117
Afterword
127
Films Referred to in the Text
129
Selected Film Productions and Adaptations of Hamlet King Lear and Macbeth
131
Bibliography
139
Index
149
About the Author
153
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Kendra Preston Leonard is the author of The Conservatoire AmZrican: A History (Scarecrow Press, 2007) and editor of Buffy, Ballads, and Bad Guys Who Sing: Music in the Worlds of Joss Whedon (Scarecrow Press, 2010).

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