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date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Shakespeare’s early style is explored from the angles of theory and dramatic practice, and in relation to the social and political contexts of the 1590s. Arguing that ornament and symmetry are the two distinct properties of Shakespeare’s early style, the essay discusses hyperbole, repetition, and parallelism as the most prominent features of that style. Claiming that Shakespeare’s use of bombast in the Henry VI trilogy and in Titus Andronicus is more sophisticated than Robert Greene and William Scott deemed it to be, the essay also explores the complex employment of symmetry, repetition and parallelism in Love’s Labour’s Lost, Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Richard III, and in the embedded sonnets in Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing. In conclusion, hyperbole is linked with the period’s colonial aspirations, demonstrated in a comparative analysis of Much Ado and Richard Hakluyt’s Principal nauigations.

Keywords: 1590s, style, ornament, hyperbole, symmetry, repetition, parallelism, eroticism, travel, love sonnet

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