William Shakespeare as a Purveyor of Re-Productions: Understanding Shakespeare’s Plays as Profitable Products


This project, “Recasting William Shakespeare in The Business of Playwriting,” works to reinvigorate the value gained by reading Shakespeare by: Beginning with espousing the importance of reading Shakespeare as a practical businessman first, instead of the mythological literary genius that men decades and now centuries after Shakespeare marketed and herald him as. Although this is not the primary focus of this paper, it is an important framework that begins to enable us to shift our presumptions of the canonical text, Romeo and Juliet . The next section sets the backdrop, i.e. the environment, in which Shakespeare used an emerging profession to recreate literature and runs through the “ancestry” of the star-crossed lovers archetype. Finally, the main section of this project identifies and explicates particular loci where Shakespeare transformed the original text in order to target and appeal to the audience of the times; in particular to Romeo & Juliet , this includes that of the creation of suspense, tragedy in relation to comedy, and an interrogation of love at first sight. This project concludes with a quick review of other proof of audience recognition within Shakespeare’s corpus that can lead to further investigations and close readings of other texts, Shakespearean or not, for financial motivations. All of which will help readers of Shakespeare come away with a greater business appreciation of his work and possibly force readers to think about the economic constraints and incentives shaping literature

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