Giovanni Matteucci

Notes on Appearance and Illusion in Shakespeare’s Aesthetic Meditation

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Keywords: Appearance, Illusion, Experience, Aesthetic Knowledge, Shakespeare

Through the reading of Midsummer Night’s Dream, this paper examines Shakespeare’s aesthetic meditation on appearance, also in reference to its final outcome which is realized in The Tempest. At the heart of this analysis is the way in which «first sight» operates and therefore the problem of illusion. The latter, however, is understood here as an essential element for the production of the sense of reality thanks to its performative nature. Therefore, Shakespeare’s meditation is addressed as an exposition of a particular conception of experience which, not being subject to the typically modern gnoseological dichotomy, constitutes the matrix of aesthetic knowledge.

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