Shakespeare's Problem Comedies Author:William Witherle Lawrence During the years when Shakespeare was occupied with his great tragedies, he also wrote those gloomy comedies for which, along with Hamlet, the late F.S. Boas proposed the name of 'problem plays'. The group includes All's Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, and Troilus and Cressida, to which episodes in Cymbeline and The Winter's Tale can b... more »e added. These plays approach the darker side of life and of human nature in a spirit of serious and realistic inquiry.
Professor Lawrence, in this influential piece of Shakespearean criticism, maintains that it is inadequate to judge these comedies by the standards of the twentieth century. Distasteful events and a generally cynical attitude to love must be viewed in the context of the early seventeenth century, when vestiges of medieval thought still survived.« less