Shakespeare's art is universal in being an integration of the nation's finest cultural qualities, in its democratic and direct appeal to the people. We cannot agree with those modern Shakespeare scholars who would present his ideas as reflecting a medieval concept of life. Like Bacon, Shakespeare belonged to the new humanistic outlook. Both men were actuated not by traditional views, but by a vital sense of their time. Shakespeare's mind was free of theological restriction; he conceived of life as the product of men's actions. In him we find no biased, dogmatic morality, which does not mean, however, that his art was amoral. His was an ethic code reflecting the natural morality of a people in an epoch when medieval proprieties were no longer binding upon men, and when the new bourgeois morality was not yet established.

The picture Shakespeare paints of the people is not coloured by sentimentality; it is realistic in every detail. The people in Shakespeare is no bowed mass of slaves, it is a complex and varied community of personalities, fully aware of mutual ties. Shakespeare did not condone the people's attempts to alter the course of state affairs through revolt; but he passed a similar condemnation on those

among the ruling classes whose egoistic strivings led to violation of the peace and the disruption of the nation's unity.

Shakespeare's heroes are taken from the upper strata of society, but their excellent moral qualities are not the exclusive property of the aristocracy. The higher a man's position, the greater his moral responsibility.

In depicting men's efforts to achieve personal liberty, Shakespeare shows the tragic contradictions arising out of clashes between man and man, and between man and his social milieu. Here too are life's paradoxes; men's virtues are transformed into vices driving them to destruction.

Tragedy in Shakespeare is never a source of pessimism. Faith in a future in which life's contradictions will find satisfactory solutions is inherent particularly in his latest works. That he himself never found such solutions is the fault of his epoch, which had not yet created conditions for a true solution of social contradictions.

Shakespeare's mastery and his ties with his people form a unity. His art sprang from the soul of the people, it returns to the people to enrich it with a bountiful harvest.


Shakespeare had his own considered and complete esthetic system, which found its expression in the imagery and phrasing of his plays. He has a fine perception of the emotional colouring of words, and give? us clear indications of his thought and his artistic purpose.

The titles of his plays in themselves are often definitions of their tonality and carry inferences as to their style. These inferences are developed in carefully selected colour tones and images, in the composition of the play and in delineation of characters. Character building and colouring in Hamlet for example is distinct from the tonality and the characters of Othello.

Shakespeare's mastery is strikingly evident in his use of such theatrical devices of his time as disguise and eves-dropping. His craftsmanship here is both delicate and versatile; the devices are made to yield psychological effects inaccessible to his contemporary playwrights.

Shakespeare elaborated an individual technique of writing. His sense of style led to selected application of devices and means of expression. Shakespeare's work is remarkable for the harmony between stylistic and compositional devices and the basic idea-content of his plays.


Historical sense means perceiving the unique features and the essence of an epoch: in Shakespeare it takes the form of poetic intuition, an imaginative clothing of events.

In the chapters entitled History of the 16th Century in the Chronicle-plays, Shakespeare and the Humanists of his Time, the author points out the superiority of Shakespeare's portrayal of history to that found in the historical works of the Renaissance humanists, whose abstract conception of politics and absorption in classical antiquity made them oblivious to the fountain sources of the national development of their peoples. The naive anachronisms, the numerous inexact and even distorted facts in Shakespeare's historical dramas are surely pardonable, for Shakespeare's was a poet's, not a scholar's historical sense. To him history was poetry cast in the mould of political drama.

The author of this essay analyses the character of kings, nobles and common people presented in the histories. In the chapter entitled The Histories and the Roman Tragedies he points out that the historical material of ancient Rome forms a basis for presenting vital problems of Elizabethan and Jacobean England. Shakespeare does not, however, modernize the past, his Brutus, Coriolanus, Antony are not stripped of their Roman quality.

The last chapter is a comparison of Shakespeare's and Schiller's historical drama.

The Concluding Remarks are a discussion of the significance of Shakespeare's chronicle-plays for modern times.


Shakespeare's comedy is unique and different from the type that became dominant in European literature beginning with Molière. At once humorous and poetic, Shakespeare's comedy is a portrayal of love as a splendid, unrestrained emotion, an expression of liberation from medieval bonds and the free development of the individual in the Renaissance epoch. The spirit of merry old England is brought to us through clowns and serving people, who form a popular background to young lovers and play a significant part in the comedy.

Shakespeare's comedies sprang out of the conditions of the liberatiug Renaissance; as the contradictions of the new bourgeois order grew and intensified, the world of comedy disintegrated.

The author of this paper discusses the relation of tragedy and comedy in Shakespeare. He shows why, in contrast to the dramatists of antiquity, who wrote either tragedy (Aeschylus, Sophocles) or comedy (Aristophanes, Plautus), Shakespeare could write both tragedy and comedy. The analysis leads to a definition of Shakespeare's comedy as an end-point, a Saturnalia of the Renaissance. It is an optimistic reflection of liberation from medieval oppression. The rise of bourgeois society, which plunged people into an abyss of suffering made a rebirth of the Shakespearean comedy impossible. Comedy writers of the 18th and 19th centuries followed in the footsteps of Molière.


In tragedy, the story of the hero reflects conflicts universal in scope and time, affecting the people and the history of the world.

Objectively, the foundation of Shakespeare's tragedies is England's transition from a feudal to a bourgeois social order.

The upheaval of the 16th and 17th centuries involved not only the feudal aristocracy, but also broad masses of common people, driving peasants from the land into conditions of harsh exploitation or pauperism.

Courtiers and humanist intellectuals clashed with the new order; and in the agony and death of Shakespeare's Renaissance man we are shown the profound sufferings of the mass of people. The people's destiny in Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus is connected with the fate of Shakespeare's leading characters, whether the people appear on the stage as a mass or whether they are represented by servants and plebeans who suffer misfortune or death together with republican Brutus, patrician Desdemona, royal Lear and army chieftain Antony.

As part of the theme of the people, the author takes up the evolution and final disintegration of Shakespeare's Utopian ideal of a monarchic state, which was to bring the warring classes together by channeling the people's strength and the self-seeking of the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie into the general interests of the nation. The analysis of the tragedy-pamphlet Coriolanus, which warns the people and the nobility of the dire consequences to England of the strengthening of mercenary passions, leads to the conclusion that the tragedy represents the downfall of Shakespeare's Utopian ideal.

G. Kozintsev. KING LEAR

Storm is the leit-motif in the tragedy's poetic fabric. Shakespeare's plot is a close parallel to that of the old tale, elements of which are retained, while the story itself is altered to convey the poet's own subject: whether a man's worth is to be estimated on the basis of his wealth and social position, or on the basis of his essential human quality. Shakespeare's approach to history is remarkable for its introduction of features of Elizabethan England in the depiction of events long past. Comparison and generalisation are made possible by this device. Lear embodies the legendary patriarchal overlord, but he is also the feudal tyrant. As the play develops, Lear realises that it is not only power in general that brings suffering upon people, but his own personal power as well. At the beginning, the world's true shape is screened from him by a web of falsehood; stripped of riches and power, he is stung by filial ingratitude and made to see the shocking contradictions of his epoch. He is jarred out of an infantile harmony and plunged into disharmony and a consciousness of the world about him. The inexorable reality of his epoch drives him out of his mind. The paper discusses the connection between Lear, the clown and

Edgar, and the presentation of the themes of wit and folly, wisdom and madness in King Lear.

The tragedy is a reflection of the crisis in the feudal world, the disintegration of the old hierarchy and the conflicts of the epoch of primary accumulation, when, as Shakespeare expressed it, Commodity ruled. Characters such as Goneril, Regan and Edmund are the product of this period of primary accumulation, of its complex contradictions. Edmund is the individualist, the Machiavellian typical of the time. The discussion includes minor characters as well, such as Oswald and the captain who kills Cordelia.

Shakespeare rejects suicide and capitulation to evil as solutions to the existing conflicts. He places his hopes no revolt, protest, struggle, Lear and Cordelia die, hut the tragic end raises the idea of humanity and the moral triumph of justice. Lear rebels against injustice: he demands that the world should either be changed or should perish.


The paper is a theoretical commentary to the staging of Antony and Cleopatra at the Kingissep theatre in Tallin, Esthonia. The theatre gives its own interpretation of the work, in an effort to meet the demands of a modern audience.

No critical analysis has yet appeared which would place this tragedy in the system of Shakespearean dramas. The historical quality of the play lies not in a faithful account of events in antiquity (in Shakespeare's time, no such account had yet appeared), but rather in a true rendering of the human passions involved, the portrayal of a conflict resembling the universal clash taking place in Shakespeare's epoch. It is impossible therefore to take Shakespeare's characters as mere copies of their historical prototypes. The people in the tragedy are swept by profound feelings, at variance with a reality ruled by self interest and devoid of high ideals. At the end we are led to see humanity victorious in the souls of Antony and Cleopatra; for fainth in the ability of every individual to strive towards something higher and better is a tenet of Shakespeare's humanism.

In the play there are no villains, in the true sense. The tragedy is no denunciation of Caesar's subjective qualities, but rather an expression of protest against a world in which exalted feelings had no place. The artistie form in which this idea is conveyed to us is more powerful than in any other Shakespearean tragedy.

The fragmentary composition of the tragedy is a concomittant of its special expanse and the shifts in the characters attitudes.

The author of the essay warns against any oversimplification in staging the tragedy, which is one of the most complex and elaborate of all Shakespeare's dramas.


The first and second quartos of Hamlet are subjected to comparative analysis, from both the literary and scenic point of view. In a number of cases the author draws upon the work of A. G. Bradley, H. Granville-Barker, J. Dover Wilson and A.. A. Smirnov.

Differences in the text and in the character and attitudes of the personages indicate that there may have been an earlier version of Shakespeare's tragedy, of which the first quarto is it an imperfect record. The author is of the opinion that a number of phrases from the first quarto, which are definitely Shakespeare's, should be given in the commentary to new editions and translations.

The object is to make Shakespeare's preliminary draft available to theatre workers in the Soviet Union, together with the changes the playwright found it necessary to introduce in producing the final version of the tragedy. The author of the paper considers practical assistance to the theatre to be the primary task of Shakespeare studies. In her opinion, close study of the second quarto text may reveal Shakespeare's actual intentions as dramatist and producer. We lack clarity as to these intentions, expecially in those cases where they are clouded over by defects in translation or where they are buried under layers of staging tradition.

The author rejects the theory that Hamlet is an early Renaissance man, opposed to medieval ethic and philosophical conventions. Nor does she agree that Hamlet can be described as purely Elizabethan. In her opinion, Hamlet is a late Renaissance humanist, standing on the threshold of the new epoch, to which he already belongs in part.

The author is strongly opposed to the theory of a weak Hamlet.


A. Glebov in his investigation applies Lenin's philosophical concept of a primary cell as the starting-point of any dialectical process. He finds the primary cell of Shakespeare's tragedy in the meeting between the witches ana Macbeth and Banquo; more precisely, in the words: the single state of man, in the monologue beginning: Two truths are told...

An analysis of eighteen Russian translations of Macbeth which appeared between 1830 and 1953, and of various interpretations of the above passage by English and American Shakespeare scholars leads to the conclusion that the most acceptable, as the most authentic historically, is that proposed by Singer, Bos-well and Elwin, which, unfortunately is not reflected in any of the Russian translations.

In support of this contention, A. Glebov gives a detailed analysis of historical facts relating to Macbeth's prototype in real life, and also of Shakespeare's state of mind at the time the play was written.

A. Glebov believes the words the single state of man can and must be understood as a statement of human values; and that the conflict between love of power and humanism constitutes the fundamental collision in the soul of Shakespeare's Macbeth.

L. Khodorkovskaya and A. Klinchin. OSTUZHEV AS OTHELLO

The analysis embraces fourteen roles in eleven Shakespeare plays, as acted by People's Artist A. A. Ostuzhev, the outstanding Maly Theatre performer.

Striking early performances by Ostuzhev are recorded: Lysander (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Romeo (Romeo and Juliet), Ferdinand (The Tempest), Benedick (Much Ado about Nothing). In this early period, Ostuzhev worked under the great actor Lensky to master the intonations of moving poetic speech, and to develop plasticity and grace in conveying the character's temperament.

Ostuzhev was still incapable, however, of grasping the entire philosophical significance of Shakespeare's drama. This may be seen from his unaided work on a number of plays after the death of Lensky (Orlando, in As You Like It; Antony in Julius Caesar). The study traces Ostuzhev's artistic and phi

losophical development to its apex in 1935 in his Othello, as performed at the Maly Theatre. The paper presents Ostuzhev's conceptions of the main role and the tragedy's theme as the clash between a noble humanistic individuality and a world of self-seeking, falsehood and base deception.

The conclusion gives a brief description of Ostuzhev's work on Hamlet and King Lear, roles which the actor studied in his last years. Illness and death prevented the successful consummation of his plan; however the plans themselves are not only of historical interest, but also of practical value to those occupied in staging Shakespeare's works. A detailed description of the plans may be found in Ostuzhev's Unrealised Plans, by L. Khodorkovskaya and A. Klinchin in Maly Theatre Yearbook 1956, p. 547582.


Othello was the last of Stanislavsky's Shakespeare productions. Written for the Art theatre while Stanislavsky was living in Nice in 1930, the plan includes an original interpretation of the tragedy and a profound essay on general problems in staging Shakespeare. Stanislavsky's is an objective-historical approach to Shakespeare: the conflict and the characters of the tragedy are linked up with social conditions and the clashes inherent in the epoch. Othello is thus lifted out of the restricting encirclement of psychological and abstract moral problems.

Stanislavsky breaks away from accepted criticai and theatre interpretations in maintaining that the tragedy flows not from the singular traits of the Moor's wild African nature, but from the clash between the Moor's romanticism and the prosaic, calculating, ungrateful world of Venice. The Renaissance epoch is therefore characterized by a profound duality: on the one hand it produced such exalted, whole-hearted romantic types as Othello and Desde-mona, on the other cruel individualists like Iago and prosaic, dull Rode-rigo.

Stanislavsky gives us his own conception of Othello, naive and childlike, pure in heart and gentle, cast against a background of the conflicting, contrasting Venetian scene.

Stanislavsky's idea was taken by the entire Soviet theatre as a basic principle for Shakespeare productions. It paved the way to the brilliant performances of the thirties, which struck a new note in stage presentations of the work of the great English dramatist.


The ballet Juliet danced by Ulanova in Lavrovsky's version of the play stands as the emblem of Soviet choreography. The image created is of vital significance to the entire development of Soviet theatrical art, a significance best realised on the background of certain fundamental problems.

Creation of the ballet character is one of these basic questions. V. Gayevsky's paper is an analysis of the esthetics and the idea-content of the character of Juliet and of her sublimity as the ballet's concept of her leading quality. The discussion is of Shakespeare's conception of the sublime and of that presented in the modern ballet

Shakespeare's Juliet and Ulanova's re-creation are taken up. Ulanova introduces variations away from the traditional image; however, she gives profoundly convincing and compelling expression to the logic of Shakespeare's character and the Shakespearean tragic and humanistic theme.


The most varied audiences have voiced their approval of the latest productions of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra and Macbeth, presented by leading Soviet theatres. The fact that audiences invariably look upon these plays as being closely connected with modern times raises the question of how a Shakespeare play should be produced in our day.

The present day accumulation of historical data gives us a better insight into Shakespeare's art. Bringing a true understanding of Shakespeare to modern audiences is the duty of theatrical art today; without, however, falling into deliberate modernisation or the introduction of foreign matter.

Success or failure here is not a matter of the theatre's status, the fame of its director, the skill of its actors of the money spent on the production. The decisive factor is the depth and verity of the grasp of Shakespeare's text. The successes enjoyed by Romeo and Juliet at the Lesya Ukrainka theatre in Kiev, and by Antony and Cleopatra at the Kingissep theatre in Tallin are due above all to the directors' correct conception. On the other hand, efforts to force the director's ideas on Shakespeare have resulted in strain and conflict. Such efforts sap the gains achieved by N. Okhlopkov and G. Kozintsev, who presented Hamlet at the Mayakovsky theatre in Moscow and the Pushkin theatre in Leningrad.

B. Emelianov criticises Kozintsev and Okhlopkov not for over-modernisation of the play, but for not making proper use of opportunities of bringing the play into line with modern problems, and thereby failing to carry out their own idea.

B. Emelianov also discusses the Maly Theatre production of Macbeth, pointing out that the director's commendable plan unfortunately was not realised to the full in the stage production. Criticism is also levelled at striving for external grandeur, decorative richness and stage effects, which many recent productions suffer from. The scenery artist and the stage director should not take precedence over the actor, for the spoken word, not the visual image is the main vehicle of expression in Shakespeare's plays.


The Sverdlovsk theatre's post-war productions of The Taming of the Shrew and Antony and Cleopatra are noteworthy attempts at profound and original presentations of Shakespeare's ideas.

In the comedy, attention is centred on the buoyancy and inherent vitality of the hero. Re-examination of the comedy leads to accentuating the subjugation of Katharina's heart, rather than the mere taming theme. Brought into the foreground is the great love of two strong and vital natures Katharina and Petruchio. An analysis is given of the acting of B. Molchanov, cast in the role of Petruchio, who is presented as an outstanding Renaissance figure, and of performances by Nazarova and Shatrova as Katharina. Finally, an estimation is. given of the work of director B. Erin.

Antony and Cleopatra, rarely shown on the Soviet stage and therefore having no set stage tradition, is presented as an ensemble play, with many parts, including minor roles, played by outstanding performers, A number of actors (Berezovsky, Buiny, Ivanov, Zubarev) discovered new potentialities in themselves, stimulated by the inexhaustible wealth of artistic material in the play. The drama is conceived as a contrast of Rome and Egypt; music, presentation and the entire rhythm of the play being made to conform. The general favourable effect is somewhat weakened through

the inability of the pivot performers (Molchanov and Shatrova as Antony and Cleopatra) to rise to the artistic heights of their performance in Taming of the Shrew Antony and Cleopatra is nevertheless a milestone in the theatre's path of exploration of the true Shakespeare spirit.


The late . Zubov, chief director of the Maly Theatre gives an account of his work in staging Macbeth, on the basis of principles laid down by the great Russian critic, V. Belinsky and the great Maly Theatre actor, A. Lensky. K. Zubov makes the point that great as the talent of the director may be, the success of his work depends wholly on the actor, who constitutes the focus of Shakespearean drama.

Alice Koonen recalls her work with Gordon Craig, when the well-known British director was staging Hamlet at the Moscow Art Theatre. After a brief account of her work on Juliet for the Ka-merny Theatre, the actress goes on to a detailed description of her interpretation of Cleopatra for the same theatre, with A. Tairov directing the staging of the tragedy.

Included in the present collection is a stenographic report of a speech by the late S. Mikhoels, in which the outstanding Soviet actor speaks of his conception and interpretation of the role of King Lear at the State Jewish Theatre. S. Mikhoels also discusses the requirements which the tragedy places before the actor.

Artist V. Rindin outlines his work on the scenery for Hamlet as presented by the Mayakovsky Theatre, and directed by N. Ohklopkov. Ryndin contrasts the vitalizing creative effort of N. Okhkopkov with the work of the Vakh-tangov Theatre group on Romeo and Juliet, in which he participated as well. The Vakhtangov Theatre had an erroneous conception of Shakespeare's tragedy and fell short in their efforts to find a genuine interpretation; and these shortcomings resulted in the failure of the play.

Director Y. Zavadsky and artist N. Shifrin write on their presentation of Merry Wives of Windsor, given as a folk carnival at the Theatre of the Moscow Soviet.


Investigation of the 18th and 19th century roots of the struggle to maintain the realistic principle in the 20th century Shakespeare theatre forms the introduction to the paper. The author goes on to show that the movement away from realism at the close of the 19th century told on presentations in the 20th, and on interpretations in Western Shakespeare studies in the period between the two world wars. Fascisation of Europe at the time led to complete distortion of the Renaissance genius' art, Shakespeare being painted as a mystic and medieval poet in critical works and theatre productions.

Decadence in the bourgeois theatre is counterposed by the work of the progressive theatre, leading in post-war years to a genuine re-birth of Shakespeare as a people's playwright and a true humanist. The democratic theatre in capitalist countries and the theatre in the People's Democracies are working for a return to realistic foundations in interpreting Shakespeare.

An analysis is given of the art of such outstanding actors as Paul Robeson (Othello), Jean Villard and Marie Casares (Macbeth), Vittorio Hassman (Hamlet), Willi Kleinau and Ernst Busch (Othello) and Zdenec Stepanek (Shy-lock). It may be seen from this analysis that with social factors taken as a point of departure, and employing the means offered by realistic art in creating the characters, Shakespeare himself emerges as a fighter against misanthropy.


The author speaks of Shakespeare productions which he saw during his visit to England in September, 1955. Among the tendencies that characterise modern Shakespeare productions in England, the author points to simplicity and mobility of stage decoration, often harking back to the limitations of the Shakes-pearen stage. Impressive also was the skill exhibited in conveying Shakespeare's verse and the wealth of intonation inherent in it. The production of King Lear by the traveling cast of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, directed by George Divine was marred by schematicism and formalism in the director's concept. Happy contrast were offered by the fine presentations of Macbeth by the Memorial Theatre at Stratford, with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh; and Twelfth Night, produced by John Gielgud, with Laurence Olivier as Malvolio. In his conclusion, Y. Shvedov expresses his gratitude to England's outstanding actors, who bring to their people the enduring genius of the great humanist.


An appraisal is given of productions of Henry VI at the Old Theatre and The Tempest at the Stratford Memorial Theatre in the first half of the 19571958 theatre season. The author applauds Peter Brook and Douglas Cecil for abiding by the spirit and style of Shakespeare and keeping the plays severly laconic and free from modernistic licence. F. Bondarenko is an opponent of modernistic attempts to shift the characters into our time, or to substitute Freudian for social factors, as is sometimes the case in certain presentations in England.

The author speaks highly of Paul Daneman, cast in the role of Henry VI and also of other performers. The play as it is given, free of naturalistic detail results in an epic generalisation of the underlying theme.

F. Bondarenko has high praise for Peter Brook's brilliantly imaginative presentation of The Tempest and his masterly handling of both fantastic and comedy scenes. Special mention is given to Gielgud's acting as Prospero, and his ability in conveying Shakespeare's philosophic meditations on the destinies of mankind.


M. Tsarev, director of the Maly Theatre, gives his impressions of the Fifth Shakespeare Festival in Canada, where he saw presentations of Twelfth Night and Hamlet.


A complete list of productions through the artist, the composer and the chief out the USSR, naming the director, performers.