Shakespeare in Theory and Practice

  • Jonathan Locke Hart University of Toronto/Harvard University
Keywords: William Shakespeare, theory, practice, poetry, poets, philosophy, philosophers, art


The article is about theory and practice in Shakespeare, but while he used the word “practice,” he never employed the term “theory.” After discussing practice a little, I shall examine how Shakespeare refers to poetry and poets, philosophy and philosophers with some brief connections with art, theatre, music, painting and mimesis. Shakespeare showed no inclination for criticism or theory in essays or non-fiction prose, but, as can be seen, for instance, in Hamlet’s instructions to the players, his work, poetry and plays, contain if not a theory of art, theatre and poetry at least some representations of and reflections on such matters by speakers, narrators and characters.


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