Although current theory has discredited the idea of a coherent, transcedent self, Shakespeare's characters still make themselves felt as a presence for readers and viewers alike. Confronting this paradox, Christy Desmet explores the role played by rhetoric in fashioning and representing Shakespearean character. She draws on classical and Renaissance texts, as well as on the work of such 20th century critics as Kenneth Burke and Paul de Man, bringing classical, Renaissance, and contemporary rhetoric shapes character within the plays and the way characters are ""read"". She also examines the relationship between technique and theme by considering the connections between rhetorical representation and dramatic illusion and by discussing the relevance of rhetorical criticism to issues of gender. Works analysed include ""Hamlet"", ""Cymbeline"", King John"", ""Othello"", ""The Winter's Tale"", King Lear"", ""Venus and Adonis"", ""Measure for Measure"" and ""All's Well That Ends Well"".