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Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.



     Having discussed the substance of a Shakespearean tragedy, we should naturally go on to examine the form. And under this head many things might be included; for example, Shakespeare's methods of characterization, his language, his versification, the construction of his plots. I intend, however, to speak only of the last of these subjects, which has been somewhat neglected;1 and, as construction is a more or less technical matter, I shall add some general remarks on Shakespeare as an artist.


As a Shakespearean tragedy represents a conflict which terminates in a catastrophe, any such tragedy

1 The famous critics of the Romantic Revival seem to have paid very little attention to this subject. Mr. R. G. Moulton has written an interesting book on Shakespeare as a Dramatic Artist (1885). In parts of my analysis I am much indebted to Gustav Freytag's Technik des Dramas, a book which deserves to be much better known than it appears to be to Englishmen interested in the drama. I may add, for the benefit of classical scholars, that Freytag has a chapter on Sophocles. The reader of his book will easily distinguish, if he cares to the places where I follow Freytag, those where I differ from him, and those where I write in independence of him. I may add that in speaking of construction I have thought it best to assume in my hearers no previous knowledge of the subject; that I have not attempted to discuss how much of what is said of Shakespeare would apply also to other dramatists; and that I have illustrated from the tragedies generally, not only from the chosen four.

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