Shakespeare and Insanity
For centuries, Shakespeare's tragedies have swept audiences up in dramatic intensity, achieving what Aristotle described as catharsis, the purging of emotional tension through drama. They draw us into the psyche of the protagonist--the angst of Hamlet, the guilt-ridden soul of the Macbeths, and the torment of Lear--with an evocative language of feeling and Shakespeare's use of a most powerful image: the human mind in a state of madness.
What drove Shakespeare's characters into insanity? Certainly, it can be argued that outside influences played their part. In the case of Othello, the sch…
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