Shakespeare And Love

Episodes

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01Margaret Drabble20120423

The first of five essays about love in the work of Shakespeare. The author and critic Margaret Drabble explores how our concepts of love and humanity have been deepened by the power of Shakespeare's poetry and how his many and varied versions of love continue to shape our imaginations. From the first love and love at first sight shared by the teenage Romeo and Juliet to the all consuming last love of the ageing Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare's understanding of love in all its guises remains unparalleled.

Writer Margaret Drabble explores how Shakespeare has deepened our concept of love.

02Stanley Wells20120424

gives the second of five essays about Shakespeare and Love. Shakespeare's work is not generally considered to be autobiographical, but Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells argues there is good reason to believe his varying portrayals of love and romance may reflect the ever-changing nature of Shakespeare's own experiences. The shifts of tone, the variations in the choices of stories he tells and the emotional and sexual relationships he dramatises suggest that his varying portrayals of love may to some extent reflect the ebb and flow of his own emotional journey.

Stanley Wells argues that Shakespeare's many portrayals of love reflect his own life.

03Samuel West20120425

In the third of our Shakespeare and Love series of essays, the actor and director Samuel West shares his own passion for the many and varied portrayals of love in Shakespeare's sonnets and plays. For Shakespeare, the opposite of love is not hate but indifference and his understanding of the true nature of love is like no other. The course of true love never does run true for love is neither constant nor predictable or even enjoyable most of the time. For Shakespeare, love's definig character is its compelling strangeness.

Actor and director Samuel West talks of his own passion for Shakespearean love.

04Helen Hackett20120426

In the fourth in our series of Shakespeare and Love essays, Professor Helen Hackett reflects on the enduring power of Shakespeare's sonnets to express the essence of love. She explains how Shakespeare refashioned this popular fourteen line poem in iambic pentameter with a fixed rhyme into one of his most powerful tools for capturing the spirit of love. Professor Hackett begins by examining the love sonnet spoken by Romeo and Juliet and how, like so many of his poems, it creates a moment of extreme unreality. Time stands still as the protagonists pour out their hearts in a sonnet that takes us beyond poetic convention and beyond realism to tell us the truth about love.

Helen Hackett argues that Shakespeare used sonnets to speak a higher truth about love.

05 LASTYasmin Alibhai-brown20120427

In the final essay in our series Shakespeare and Love, the writer and journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown recalls how her own heart was captured by Shakespeare as a child growing up in Uganda, East Africa, where his plays were performed at her school on a regular basis. Though Shakespeare may never have left England, he had a global outlook on love. Racial pride and prejudice had a strong presence in many of his plays. From Titus Andronicus and the Merchant of Venice to Othello, the plays are full of rebellious lovers; mixed race couplings whose complex lives are portrayed with such moral clarity and moral ambivalence that they resonate today.

Writer and journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown examines interracial love in Shakespeare.