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Shakespeare and Classical TragedyThe Influence of Seneca$
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Robert S. Miola

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112648

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112648.001.0001

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Heavy Seneca

Heavy Seneca

(p.1) 1 Heavy Seneca
Shakespeare and Classical Tragedy

Robert S. Miola

Oxford University Press

Polonius dubbed Seneca as a code which is ‘fully declared but unsaid’ and is widely used among tragedies made during the Renaissance period. With the launching of more than fifty printings of such tragedies in different editions, a number of continental critics recognized Seneca as an exemplar of a specific style and tragic action. Evidently, a model of tragic style, elegance, grandeur, and other such traits circulated both in England and on the continent. Although it is asserted that the use of ‘heavy’ Seneca would not have entailed the need for annotation, critics have already pushed through with various attempts at describing how Seneca had greatly influenced several aspects of Elizabethan drama, especially works of Shakespeare.

Keywords:   Polonius, Seneca, code, Renaissance, tragedies, tragic action, style, Shakespeare, Elizabethan drama

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