Echoes Of Sound And Sense In Macbeth Essay

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"Strange things I have in head, that will to hand": echoes of sound and sense in Macbeth - play by William Shakespeare by Paul Pellikha Dramatic poetry begins in a sensuous apprehension through the ear. Coburn Freer (8) The renowned pianist Artur Schnabel, when asked what was "great" music, replied that great music is music that is "better than it can be performed." His remark seems aptly parallel to the literary arts in that great literature is literature that is better than it can be read. Literary criticism, whatever may be the theoretical framework upon which the criticism is based, is still the "reading" of literature, and the great works of literature, no matter how closely read, always have something more, often something better, to reward our efforts. Indeed, in the critical reading of most dramatic literature, we face the added complication that though we can read a play as "literature," the play itself was conceived as a performance text. (1) Most of the studies on the language of Shakespeare's plays have been essentially textual ones, however, ones based not on the sound of the enacted spoken word, but rather on the contemplation of the printed word in the text. Yet drama, above all verse drama, is the spoken word, or, more accurately, heightened spoken language for acting. Madeleine Doran opens her book Shakespeare's Dramatic Language with the observation that "those of us who make our roomy home in Shakespeare never cease to wonder at his artistry" (3). A major part of this artistry, she asserts, is how each of the plays "has a distinctive quality, something peculiar to that play alone - a quality that is not altogether attributable to differences in plot, theme, character, and setting, but something that feels different, or that sounds different to our ears" (3). That

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