The Uses of Parallelism in SomeShakespearean History Plays(With special reference to Antony and Cleopatra,Henry IV part 1 and Julius Caesar)

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Hala Salih Mohammed, Nur
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Shakespeare used many methods in the construction of his plays among which was the technique of parallelism. The main purpose of the thesis is to study the uses of parallelism in some history plays (English and Roman) of Shakespeare as this technique was ignored by most of the critics. The thesis takes a middle way between two groups of critics. The first group thinks that Shakespeare\\\\\\\'s history plays are wholly didactic in nature and that he was the spokesman of the Tudor propaganda and the other group believes that the plays are not didactic in nature. The two groups did not focus on the use of parallelism as a technique in the construction of Shakespeare\\\\\\\'s plays. The thesis aims at the following: 1. To study the technique of parallelism as a tool in the construction of history plays. 2. To prove that parallelism was used by Shakespeare in two major ways, didactic and dramatic. 3. To show that by using the history play as a mirror reflecting his own time, Shakespeare was able to give important lessons to the Elizabethans and that Shakespeare was a great political thinker. The thesis will concentrate on three history plays of Shakespeare, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra which are from Roman history and Henry IV part 1 which is from English history. In the three plays Shakespeare used the two types of parallelism didactic and dramatic. The thesis will be divided into an introduction and six chapters. Chapter one will contain a historical background to the use of parallelism and the development of the history plays. Chapter two will study the use of parallelism for didactic purposes. Chapter three and four will study dramatic parallelism such as parallel themes and settings. Chapter Five will use the technique of parallelism as a way of studying Shakespeare\\\\\\\'s character type and characterization technique. Finally, the last chapter will contain the conclusion. Appendix I will contain an extract from Holinshed\\\\\\\'s The Chronicles. Appendix II will contain two extracts from Machiavelli\\\\\\\'s The Prince. Appendix III will contain extracts from Plutarch\\\\\\\'s Parallel Lives. Many resources were used primary, secondary and electronic. For the primary resources a copy of the Arden Shakespeare for each play was used for all the citations in the thesis. Many critical references were consulted plus Thomas North\\\\\\\'s translation of Plutarch\\\\\\\'s Parallel lives and Holinshed\\\\\\\'s The Chronicles. Electronic resources on the World Wide Web were consulted. The thesis proves by closely studying the technique of parallelism in the history plays that Shakespeare succeeded in using parallelism didactically and dramatically. Didactically he used parallelism in the following areas: 1. To teach Queen Elizabeth and her court the characteristics of the perfect monarch lest they choose an heir lacking these characteristic. 2. To discuss issues of war and peace, rebellions, religion and honour. 3. To criticize his monarch which he could not do directly for fear of persecution. Dramatically, Shakespeare succeeded in using parallelism in ways never attempted before. The findings could be summarized as follows: 1. Shakespeare did use parallelism in his setting by making parallel scenes contrast in the plays under study. This method allowed him to highlight different settings and also made his scenes comment on each other ironically. 2. Parallel themes are used in the plays. This technique clarified his themes. 3. Parallel language styles are also shown and this proves that Shakespeare was able by the use of this method to show the power of language and the variety of the English language. 4. The technique of parallelism could be used in studying the character types created by Shakespeare by comparing characters that embody parallel characteristics. Also different characterizing techniques are studied such as old versus young characters and minor versus major characters when seen as sets of parallels. So there is no doubt that Shakespeare excelled in his use of parallelism to enhance his plots, create unforgettable characters and clarify his themes. None of his contemporaries have used parallelism dramatically because most of them have used it didactically