In another Shakespeare Club I belong to someone suggested that if Shakespeare had used Flashbacks or employed different methods of telling his stories (especially Hamlet) this might have had some interesting results. Any thoughts ?
I actually don't think that Hamlet would have benefitted from the use of flashbacks. Shakespeare's use of exposition in the first scene is masterful, a scene that I use to teach the concept of flashbacks to my classes. Also, it would have authenticated or disproved many things that are written to be ambiguous, such as a possible Gertrude/Claudius liason during her first marriage.
However, I think a flashback would have greatly improved the clunky exposition in the first scene of Comedy of Errors. Furthermore, many of the histories could use another way of reminding the audience what has happened in previous plays. The Tempest is another that would probably improve if we could see the back story rather than merely hearing about it.
Does anyone know what novel/play/story first used the flashback as a storytelling device? I'd be interested in finding out.
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