Male Friendship in Shakespeare and His Contemporaries

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Cambridge University Press, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 222 pages
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Renaissance humanism developed a fantasy of friendship in which men could be absolutely equal to one another, but Shakespeare and other dramatists quickly saw through this rhetoric and developed their own ideas about friendship more firmly based on a respect for human difference. They created a series of brilliant and varied fictions for human connection, as often antagonistic as sympathetic, using these as a means for individuals to assert themselves in the face of social domination. Whilst the fantasy of equal and permanent friendship shaped their thinking, dramatists used friendship most effectively as a way of shaping individuality and its limitations.

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