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Madness in Shakespeare (LELE)

Madness is a recurrent theme in Shakespeare's works. Through this selection of texts and paintings, you will discover the range of aesthetic an dramatic functions assumed by insanity in three of the bard's most famous tragedies. Those who are not familiar with the plots of Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear will easily find film adaptations, simplified texts and summaries. They can also read the famous "tales" by Charles Lamb on our pages:

Macbeth - Conveying madness through language

- Determination and denial of nature
- The sleepwalking scene
- Lady Macbeth, by Henry Fuseli, 1781-1784

Texts, painting and keys...

Ophelia's lyrical madness in Hamlet

- The King and the Queen witness Ophelia's madness
- Gertrude reporting Ophelia's death to Laertes
- John Everett Millais's Ophelia, 1852

Texts, painting and keys...

Feigned and real madness in King Lear

- Insanity as a disguise
- Satire under the cover of madness
- William Dyce's King Lear and The Fool in the Storm, 1851

Texts, painting and keys...

Final Task

On the occasion of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth, groups of students will be asked to find other texts and works of visual arts illustrating madness in Shakespeare (with the help of their teacher). They will put up an exhibition associating texts and artworks with commentaries about how artists use, express or change insanity's function in paintings, drawings or photographs derived from Shakespearean scenes.
450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth
Further readings
- Dossier A Midsummer Night's Dream
Vous trouverez dans ce dossier des articles de Francis Guinle, Geneviève Lheureux et Estelle Rivier, ainsi qu'une webographie élaborée par Frédérique Brisset.

- Visions dans et sur King Lear
Estelle Rivier, actes d'un colloque de l'Université du Maine, laboratoire 3L.AM

- Shakespeare's The Rape of Lucrece: the wound that cannot heal
Un article de Clifford Armion

- La Renaissance anglaise : horizons passés, horizons futurs
Recueil dirigé par Michèle Vignaux

- Measure for Measure in Performance
Journée d’étude organisée par Isabelle Schwartz-Gastine, Delphine Lemonnier-Texier et Estelle Rivier

- La photographie de Julie de Waroquier
Découvrez un univers qui évoque le motif de la noyade d'Ophélie
Mise à jour le 5 juillet 2013
Créé le 2 juillet 2013
ISSN 2107-7029
DGESCO Clé des Langues