“In Fair Verona”

Media, Spectacle, and Performance in William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet
  • Peter S. Donaldson


Shakespeare’s plays are endlessly metatheatrical, commenting on the theater and its practices often and in many different ways. There are plays within plays, explicit comparisons of life to the stage, scenes in which playhouse audience and players onstage seem to merge, and perhaps thousands of more fleeting moments that refer directly or through metaphor or double meaning to stagecraft or performance. But if, as Michael Goldman once wrote, there is always a play within a play in Shakespeare (Goldman 1972), it is nonetheless true that some plays reflect on their medium in such a sustained way that they can be read as allegories of theater, exploring the paradoxes of performance and representation as in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, calling attention to historical change in theater practices (as Hamlet does when he laments the success of the new all-boys companies), and even, as in The Tempest, imagining the end of all theater, when something called “the … globe,” at once playhouse and cosmos, will dissolve without a trace.


False Consciousness Sacred Heart Death Scene Distant Sight Final Scene 
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Copyright information

© Richard Burt 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter S. Donaldson

There are no affiliations available

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