Shame in Shakespeare: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Shame in Shakespeare

1st Edition

By Ewan Fernie


288 pages

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Paperback: 9780415258289
pub: 2001-11-22
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One of the most intense and painful of our human passions, shame is typically seen in contemporary culture as a disability or a disease to be cured. Shakespeare's ultimately positive portrayal of the emotion challenges this view. Drawing on philosophers and theorists of shame, Shame in Shakespeare analyses the shame and humiliation suffered by the tragic hero, providing not only a new approach to Shakespeare but a committed and provocative argument for reclaiming shame.

The volume provides:

· an account of previous traditions of shame and of the Renaissance context

· a thematic map of the rich manifestations of both masculine and feminine shame in Shakespeare

· detailed readings of Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear

· an analysis of the limitations of Roman shame in Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus

· a polemical discussion of the fortunes of shame in modern literature after Shakespeare.

The book presents a Shakespearean vision of shame as the way to the world outside the self. It establishes the continued vitality and relevance of Shakespeare and offers a fresh and exciting way of seeing his tragedies.


'Shame in Shakespeare discovers at the heart of the great tragedies a confrontation with the most complex and disconcerting of human emotions. This ground-breaking study transforms one's understanding of works of which one rarely expects to learn anything new. It does so not only because of the originality of its subject, but also because it owes nothing to modishness and everything to the critical acuity of its author.' - Professor Kiernan Ryan, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

About the Author

Ewan Fernie is lecturer in English at the Queen's University of Belfast. He is the author of several articles on Renaissance literature and culture.

About the Series

Accents on Shakespeare

The Accents on Shakespeare series provides short, powerful 'cutting edge' accounts of and comments on new developments in Shakespeare studies. The volumes either 'apply' theory, or broaden and adapt it in order to connect with concrete teaching concerns. In the process, they also reflect and engage with the major developments in Shakespearean studies of the last ten years.

Since the New Accents series was established, 'theory' as a fundamental feature of the study of literature, the need for short, 'cutting-edge' accounts of and comments on new developments in literary studies has increased enormously. In the case of Shakespeare, Accents on Shakespeare supplies an exciting range of provocative new titles. The books in the series either apply theory, or broaden and adapt it to connect with teaching concerns. In the process they also reflect and engage with the major developments in Shakespearean studies of recent years.

Learn more…

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