1st Edition

Shakespeare and Happiness

By Kathleen French Copyright 2022
    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    Shakespeare and Happiness is a study of attitudes to happiness in the early modern period and in Shakespeare’s plays. It considers the conflicting influences of religion and Aristotelian philosophy in shaping attitudes to the possibility of attaining happiness.

    By being the first book to focus specifically on the representation of happiness in Shakespeare’s plays, it contributes to

    • feminist approaches to Shakespeare by foregrounding the important role of women in showing the right way to live and achieve happiness.
    • timely criticism, as it considers Shakespeare in the current context of the #MeToo movement
    • providing new insights to studies of the emotions by approaching them from the perspective of research conducted by positive psychologists.

    This book takes an interdisciplinary approach that combines methodologies from literature, psychology philosophy, religion and history, emphasizing the richness and complexity of Shakespeare’s exploration of the nature of happiness.

    Introduction;  Part I. Thinking About Happiness;  1. Happiness in the Early Modern Period;  2. Approaches to Shakespeare;  Part II. Happiness Gained: The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It and Twelfth Night;  3. Looking for Different Types of Happiness;  4. Looking for Happiness in a Fallen World;  5. Rewriting Eve;  Part III. Happiness Lost: Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Othello and The Winter’s Tale;  6. Trapped in a Fallen World;  7. Blaming Eve: Exercises in Power; 8. And After That Forgiveness?;  Conclusion;  Bibliography


    Kathleen French has a PhD from The University of Sydney. She is currently an Honorary Associate in the Department of English at The University of Sydney.