Shakespeare and Charm

  • Richard Beckman


Beckman suggests that Shakespeare invented charm in the modern sense. Charm comes from outside of ourselves, yet we take it into ourselves as it touches our heart. It is outside, yet we appreciate it, make it our own. We are charmed by Rosalind pretending to be someone other than herself while she plays the role of the person she is. The ambiguity of which self is speaking, the real or the pretend, is itself a part of Rosalind’s charm. This doubleness is a benign version of the Homer’s Sirens’ duplicity. The structure of wit and charm is doubleness, whether duplicity, ambiguity, the making of a bridge between seemingly unrelated elements, as in Johnson’s complaint that metaphysical poetry yoked heterogeneous elements by violence together.


Polytropic charm in Shakespeare 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Beckman
    • 1
  1. 1.Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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