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Explore Carter's use of Shakespeare in the novel 'Wise Children'

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Explore Carter's Use of Shakespeare in the novel 'Wise Children' Carter continually uses Shakespeare throughout the novel, Carter uses a countless number of Shakespearian references throughout the novel almost too many to be deemed realistic which as a result conforms the novel to magic realism. The structure of the novel itself is similar to a Shakespeare play as the novel comprises five chapters whilst a Shakespearian play comprises five acts. Carter also shows how art emulates life as Ranulph Hazard is seen as being unable to differentiate between art and real life. Ultimately Carter's main use of Shakespeare is trying to bring Shakespeare back to low culture as Shakespeare has become the epitome of high culture which is evident through characters such as Melchior and Ranulph. Carter uses an endless array of Shakespeare references many of which apply to normal everyday situations 'Perhaps Shakespeare had eaten such a soup'. ...read more.


Art imitates like on a number of occasions throughout the novel for example when Ranulph played Othello and caught his wife sleeping with someone else before killing them and himself. Therefore his real life has been played out in the same way as the play. This extreme intertextuality also gives insight to Wise Children conforming to the idea of magic realism, because of the sheer unrealistic nature of the scenario which has been applied in a realistic way. Carter could be giving insight into the Hazard family's obsession with Shakespeare 'Shakespeare was a kind of God to him'. The use of 'God' is very effective as it portrays Shakespeare as a religious symbol and therefore a way of life for the Hazard family 'Our greatest living Shakespearian'. Ranulph can be seen as becoming obsessed with Shakespeare because he associates all aspects of his life to Shakespeare, and Ranulph is seen as being unable to differentiate between art and real life. ...read more.


Carter also combats this idea by associating Melchior's offspring with popular culture rather than following their father's footsteps. Carter shows how the Hazard family have fallen as a result of this popular entertainment 'Lo how the mighty have fallen'. Carter represents the Hazards with 'mighty' and how they have 'fallen' by resorting to American imperialism in the form of popular entertainment 'Lashings of lolly'. Rather that the 'high art' of Shakespearian theatre. Carter uses Shakespeare throughout 'Wise Children'. Carter uses Shakespeare to conform the novel to magic realism as art imitates life. Carter also challenges the grand narratives as she is against the idea that Shakespeare has become the epitome of high culture. However I believe Carter has used Shakespeare to show that she can write like Shakespeare. I believe she is challenging the long established literature which Shakespeare is ultimately top of. However Carter is showing that she can write like Shakespeare and is therefore challenges why there are no women in the literature canon. ...read more.

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