Innocence Lost.

Essay by tjosvoldUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, September 2003

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This is an analysis of charecters in selected works from the course Including Romeo and Juliet, Othello, A Midsummers Night Dream, The Merchant of Venice. It traces Shakspeares notions of innocence and compare's many characters throughout the aforementioned works

Matthew Tjosvold

English Lit. 3000

May 5, 2003

Final Paper

Several of Shakespeare's plays contain a reoccurring theme of innocence or purity lost through the impurity of others. The innocence or purity may only correspond to one aspect of a characters personality or background. For instance, in Romeo and Juliet, it is Mercutio's bloodline that renders him innocent, while in Othello, it is Othello's inexperience with Venetian society that defines his innocence. Shakespeare repeatedly uses the impurity of the surrounding characters to manipulate and withdraw this purity and innocence, sometimes leading to comedy and other times leading to tragedy. This paper draws on five characters from Shakespeare's works, each character is innocent in his own unique way and each time that innocence is lost through the hands of others.

The escapade of Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, illustrates a comical example of innocence being corrupted and manipulated by the actions of others. Granted, Bottom is so overconfident that he never realizes his innocence is at stake, and his character retains its ridiculousness throughout the play. However, this instance serves as a simple example of how Shakespeare toys with the idea of purity in impure surroundings. Bottom's innocence is defined in terms his overconfidence and ridiculousness, indeed, he holds an astounding belief in his own abilities as an actor.

That will ask some tears in the true performing of

it: if I do it, let the audience look to their

eyes; I will move storms, I will condole in some

measure. To the rest: yet my chief...