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The early plays

The beginning of Shakespeare’s life as an author has it’s base in London in the late 1580s. As it is with a large part of his factual biography, it is not certain when exactly and with which theatrical organisations did he start writing his first plays. What can be said is that these plays differ greatly from his later, more mature works in authenticity and style, being a novice dramatist the influence of the mainstream London theatre plays is evident.

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Titus Andronicus

A prime example here is Shakespeare’s first full-length tragedy Titus Andronicus (c.1589-92) which can be seen as an homage to Thomas Kyd’s huge success at that time, The Spanish Tragedy. Kyd, inspired by the dramaturgy of Seneca, had revitalized and refigured to the taste of the London theatre a highly successful genre – the revenge tragedy. The themes include honor, dignity, vengeance and justice, whilst the plot of the story follows the path of the avenger through the journey he is bound to take by oath given to someone close to him who has been murdered , raped or has had some other atrocity executed upon him. The goal is bloody revenge and to get to it the avenger will be put through numerous ethical dilemmas and must be cunning and ruthless. On his path he becomes or feigns madness to hide his intents. Apart from Titus Andronicus another play that follows this formula is Hamlet both which end in bloodbaths. Though successful in writing tragedies Shakespeare’s interest moved quickly to comedy and farcical plays. One of his most successful early farcical comedies is The Comedy of Errors(c. 1589–94). which is and adaptation of Plautus’ Menaechmi and whose composition follows classical principles of playwright such as those of Aristotle. The narrative of one twin (Antipholus) searching for his lost sibling, joined by a shrewd worker (Dromio) whose twin has likewise vanished, results in a joke of mixed up characters that additionally astutely investigates issues of personality and self-knowing.Another topic arises from the discourse between the wife of Antipholus and her sister concerning the wifely obedience and self-governence. . Marriage settle these challenges toward the end, as is routinely the situation in Shakespearean lighthearted comedy, yet not before the plot difficulties put the characters through a self-questioning about who they are and what men should expect from women and vice versa.

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