Translation by: femme/900/16 October 2005
Shakespeare and Cervantes are nothing more than spokesmen of their time. They proclaim through their unique works that which reality expresses at every turn.
There are fundamental features of Mannerism in their works: the transparency of the comic through that which is tragic and the presence of the tragic in the comic. There is also the two-sided nature of their heroes who first appear as ridiculous, then sublime. The grotesque and the whimsical, and the mixture of realist and unreal elements in their style, is Mannerist.
For reasons of style, Shakespeare does not relinquish his heroes' social significance. They have to be princes and great lords so they can rise above their contemporaries and fall from a superior loftiness in order to create, along with the sudden change of their destiny, all the more greater of an impression.
Shakespeare's historical context: Queen Isabel favored, from every aspect, a capitalist economy, a wealthy bourgeoisie, and a landowning nobility that would come to make up the new ruling class. And the stabilization of society was expressed through her alliance with the crown. The principle of social order, and the ideas of authority and national security, were transformed into the basis of bourgeois ideology once the acquiring classes had become convinced that nothing was more dangerous to them than weak authoritarianism and the possible upheaval of the social hierarchy.
Shakespeare's Monarchism is explained by his fear of chaos. His thinking about the world and the dissoluteness of the same, which made the social order seem threatened, is always a fundamental theme in his line of thought and in his poetry. He expresses political opinions that give strength to the idea of human rights. He condemns the abuse of power and the oppression of people, but he also condemns that which he calls the populace's prepotency and arrogance. And he places, because of his bourgeois fears, the principle of social order above all humanitarian considerations. Shakespeare insults the people with obvious satisfaction. He had comprehended that which was critical and untenable about the political situation. He expresses a tragic vision of the world and a deep pessimism. He demonstates his sense of social responsibility and his conviction that all was not well, such as it was.
Hamlet is a Quixotic figure in Shakespeare on accoount of his idealism, which is far removed from reality, his ingenousness, and his credulity. Characteristic only of Shakespeare is the terrible awakening from illusion and the never-ending sorrow that the late discovery of the truth causes his characters.
Historical context: the enmity between Isabel and Maria Esturado, the persecution of the Puritans, the progressive transformation of England into a police state, the end of a relatively liberal government and the new absolutist direction of Jacob I, and the sharpening of the conflict between the monarchy and the middle class regarding Puritan ideas, are all reasons why Shakespeare changed his literary direction towards pessimism.
The crisis that Shakespeare went through completely upset his psychological equilibrium and gave him a new way of looking at the world. The poet now feels more sympatheitic towards people who fail in public life than towards those who are successful and fortunate. The pessimism in Shakespeare has a suprapersonal dimension and carries within it the characteristics of historical tragedy.
Shakespeare was the first great poet in the history of the theater who directed his work to a wide and diverse audience that included every class in society and before which he achieved a fully resounding success. Shakespeare wrote drama because there was a demand for the same and he attempted to satisfy that demand.
Not only its content and tendencies, but also the Shakespearean drama's form, are conditioned by the social and political structure of that period.
The psychological struggle, the tragconflict of conscience, is expressed in his work. This psychological struggle consists of the inevitability of conflict, the insolubility of its conclusion, and the hero's moral victory while in the middle of his downfall, a victory that becomes possible with the conception of the modern idea of destiny where a destiny turns tragic, only by virtue of its affirmation. The formal principles in Shakespeare's work are, in a word, its composition, the lack of continuity in its action, the abrupt succession of its scenes, and the free and ever-changing action within space and time.
Shakespeare's work is, before all else, naturalistic in the depiction of its characters, that is to say, in the differentiated psychology of his figures and the human format of his heroes who are made up of obvious contradictions and who have plenty of weaknesses.