During the English Renaiassance, the term 'shadow' held many meanings: Painting and Drawing; An unreal appearance; Applied rhetorically to a portrait as contrasted with the original; also to an actor or a play in contrast with the reality represented; An obscure indication; a symbol; An imitation, copy. How does Shakespeare make use of the variety of meaning behind artistic terminology and what can that tell us about Renaissance drama as a whole?
Inherently negative, dramatic use of artistic terms such as shadow tend to reflect upon the workmanship, status, and professionalism of the dramatist, whose own form, like painting, was in a period of transition. The graphs below are meant to provide an introductory exploration into Shakespeare's wide use of these terms and the effect these allusions have on readers and viewers.
Explore the frequency to which artistic terms appear in Shakespeare's early plays.
See the frequency to which artistic terms appear in Shakespeare's later plays.
Explore how Renaissance visual and rhetorical manuals use artistic terms.