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A Cubist Perspective of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“The great cycle of the ages is renewed. Now Justice returns, returns the Golden Age; a new generation now descends from on high.” – Virgil, Eclogues 1.5

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As Virgil stated so many years ago, history is a cyclical phenomenon. The experiences of one age tend to be repeated in future generations. Knowing that, we should not be surprised to find the seeds of modern styles and philosophies sprouting in earlier ages.

Elizabethan England was a society undergoing major social changes. In religion the country had recently left the fold of Catholicism to establish the Church of England. While England during this time was a major world power, she also enjoyed a level of security thanks to her easily defended boundaries as an island nation with a powerful navy. The sense of power and security allowed for the growth of a prosperous middle class. Within this milieu of power combined with internal security and economic growth the seeds of change were nurtured#. Intellectual and artistic freedom and growth were fostered in this environment, Elizabethan England provided an envisronment that allowed men like William Shakespeare to find a voice that reached not only his own generation but continues to speak to the modern world.

If we look at the world at the beginning of the 20th century we can find many parallels with Elizabethan England. In both ages Europe was experiencing a great social and political realignment. The growing nationalism that was the precursor to World War I and the Russian Revolution was accompanied by a new sense of self and a new set of allegiances. For artists like Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris these …

….” William Shakespeare Comedies & Romances. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986.

Schanzer, Ernest. “_A Midsummer-Night’s Dream.” 26-31 in Kenneth Muir, ed. Shakespeare: The Comedies: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1965.

Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ed. Brian Gibbons. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Vaughn, Jack A. Shakespeare’s Comedies. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Company, 1980

Watts, Cedric. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. London: Penguin, 1986.

Wells, Stanley & Gary Taylor, General Eds. _William Shakespeare: The _Complete Works. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Young, David P. Something of Great Constancy: The Art of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966.

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