Shakespeare's Pictures is the first full-length study of visual objects in Shakespearean drama. In several plays (Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night, among others) pictures are brought on stage - in the form of portraits or other images - as part of the dramatic action. Shakespeare's characters show, exchange and describe them. The pictures arouse in their beholders strong feelings, of desire, nostalgia or contempt, and sometimes even taking the place of the people they depict.
The pictures presented in Shakespeare's work are part of the language of the drama, and they have a significant impact on theatrical performance, from Shakespeare's time to our own. Keir Elam pays close attention to the iconographic and literary contexts of Shakespeare's pictures while also exploring their role in performance history. Highly illustrated with 46 images, this volume examines the conflicted cooperation between the visual and the verbal.