This chapter reminds us of Shakespeare's late Roman plays, where fatefulness of moods, existential challenges of human finitude, and the social contract decisively take the spirit's measure. Once again Emerson serves as Cavell's resource as a foundation in reading these plays despite his alleged limitations. While philosophers and students of American literature have responded to Cavell, his emphasis on tragedy and skepticism warrants attention from Shakespeare scholars as well. His books, which make frequent reference to the matters of genre and to the specific plays of the Shakespearean quantity, abound in Emersonian reflections. Thus, Cavell's later thoughts—Shakespeare, Emerson, and Hollywood movies—permeate his publications of the last quarter-century.
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