Predicaments and resolutions: A study of dramatic structure in Stoppard, Chekhov, and Shakespeare
Costa, Kevin Joseph
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Beginning with the premise that all drama issues from essential human predicaments, this study examines select works from three major playwrights over the last four hundred years--Tom Stoppard, Anton Chekhov, and William Shakespeare--to see how each conceives of the nature of dramatic structure, and how each helps expand, define, and re-define dramatic resolution. This study also explores the notion that the aim of all drama is to resolve the conflict that has initiated the dramatic situation in the first place, solutions that we often anticipate to be coincident with a "happy ending," especially when comic drama in particular is concerned. But rather than make the works in question fit some pre-fixed definition of what "resolution" means (or what comedy or happiness means, for that matter), this study seeks to challenge conventional notions of resolution to allow for a fundamental and dynamic conception of dramatic structure.