Shakespeare in Marina Tsvetaeva’s Eyes

Dmitry Nikolayevich Zhatkin, Tatiana Sergeevna Kruglova


The article for the first time systematizes the facts describing perception of creative works of a great English writer W. Shakespeare by Russian poetess M. I. Tsvetaeva. The actual material is presented in all its variety and not only well-known works “Hamlet” poems of 1823 “Ophelia—to Hamlet” (“Hamlet—fasten—tightly…”), “Ophelia—in protection of Queen” (“Prince Hamlet! Enough worm-eaten deposit…”), “The dialogue of Hamlet with his conscience” (“At the bottom she is, where silt…”), “On an appointed date…” (“Along the quays, where gray-haired trees…”) are comprehended, but also the texts from some summary writing-books and notebooks of the poetess, her correspondences which have not drawn much attention up to now. In view of M. I. Tsvetaeva’s understanding of Shakespeare creative works the article considers the most interesting aspects of mutual relations between the poetess and A. A. Akhmatova, B. L. Pasternak, M. A. Voloshin, V. E. Mejerhold, N. S. Goncharova, her relatives and friends. It is noted, that alongside with her enthusiastic estimation of Shakespeare’s heritage in general, M. I. Tsvetaeva introduced her own vision of “Hamlet” and “Romeo and Juliet”, she underestimated “King Lear”, she recollected her girl’s delight when she saw the performance of “The Merry Wives of Windsor”, she translated the song of Stefano from the second act of “Storm” “the Captain, the gunner and the boatswain…”, she quoted the catchwords from “Julius Caesar” and the comedy “As you like it”, etc. Lots of M. I. Tsvetaeva’s opinions about Shakespeare have been caused by the events in the life of theatre of her time (her dialogue with S. E. Gollidei, an actress of a Second studio of Moscow Art Theatre, who has become the heroine of her “Story about Sonechka”; the assumed performance of “Macbeth” by Y. A. Zavadsky and the attitude of P. G. Antokolsky to this performance), her aspiration to see some difference and internal mutual irreconcilability between the poet and the actor, her reflections about a voice of the actor as of a “great tempter” of audience etc. The significant attention in the article is paid to the original alternative of Shakespearian “Hamlet” poems, which essentially transforms the understanding of images of Hamlet, Ophelia and the Queen. It is also noted that in the given poetic cycle and in other Tsvetaeva’s works both the image of Shakespeare and Shakespeare’s characters don’t simply arise in the context of significant public problems but also as a part of personal feelings, experiences and emotions of the poetess. Thus, the A. A. Saakyants’s statements of “M. I. Tsvetaeva’s real Shakespearian nature” and of “Shakespearian storms” in her soul have been proved by the concrete facts. The presented materials for the first time revealing the variety of Tsvetaeva’s understanding of Shakespeare concentrate attention on that aspect that in many cases the name of the English author is deprived of a reality, it is connected with a general characteristic of the ingenious creator and his place in the world, it has a common cultural character. The article essentially corrects the circumstances of Shakespearian influence on M. I. Tsvetaeva’s creative works, comprehended in the works of the researchers-predecessors (A. Tamarchenko, E. Aisenstein, K. Gratsiadei). The material of the article facilitates the occurrence of the future basic research about Russian-English literary communications in the time of Silver Age of Russian poetry.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n5s4p509

Full Text: PDF

Licenza Creative Commons
This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

Copyright © MCSER-Mediterranean Center of Social and Educational Research

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders..