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The 'Great Code' in Shakespeare's Henriad

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Northrop Frye has proven to be one of the most important literary theorists of contemporary literary criticism. His literary theories, as presented in Anatomy of Criticism and The Great Code, have become bench-marks in Biblical literary criticism. In his book, The Great Code, Frye argues that Biblical imagery and narrative ... had set up an imaginative framework -- a mythological universe -- within which Western literature had operated down to the eighteenth century and is to a large extent still operating. Frye shows how Biblical narrative has become, unconsciously, the context for Western understanding of narrative and imagery in art and literature. Specifically, Frye suggests that the context of the Bible is traditionally described as typological revelation that proceeds from the beginning to the end of its story and exists in seven typological phases creation, revolution exodus, law, wisdom prophecy, gospel, and apocalypse. This research project tests Fryes theories about the influence of Biblical imagery and narrative on a masterpiece of Western art, Shakespeares Henriad Richard II, Henry IV, Part I, Henry IV, Part II, and Henry V. Although many literary critics have examined Shakespeares use of the Bible most of them catalogue the Biblical allusions without discussing their functions in the plays. This research focus on Shakespeares use of the Bible in his drama, however, it investigates how his Henriad manifests the great code of Biblical narrative revelation. Bible, Shakespeare, Typology, Language

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  • Information Science

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