Date of Award
Professor Eric Phillips
Dr. Byron Eubanks
Dr. Rob Hewell
Shakespeare is one of the most popular playwrights of all time. Even during his own life time, Shakespeare experienced tremendous popularity that has lasted hundreds of years. Perhaps no one has said it better than Shakespeare's own contemporary Ben Johnson:
He was not of an age, but for all time! And all the Muses still were in their prime, When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm! Nature herself was proud of his designs, And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines! Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit, As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
One of the many reasons Shakespeare is so tremendously popular is his mastery of the human condition. Whether it is the heroic Henry V, the love-struck Julia, the wise Prospero, or the fierce Queen Margaret, Shakespeare writes characters that the audience can relate to. Shakespeare does not simply write a hero or a villain. He writes characters that reveal their true emotions in moments of extremity. This is what is interesting to us. We relate to the hero and the villain because we understand why they choose to act in the way they do. We love to share in the moments of triumph, love, defeat, loss, and friendship because we have been there. That is why I think Shakespeare remains such a powerful playwright. The ten monologues chosen for this thesis are just a sampling of his mastery. Each character will be analyzed within the context of the show, scene, and my thesis.
Davis, Sarah Lynnette, "Shakespeare: The Mirror of the Human Soul" (2014). Honors Theses. 232.