ABSTRACT Current approaches to Renaissance drama, rejecting the older idea of mimesis as likeness to an essential “nature,” have also rejected the assumption that Shakespeare's drama is especially mimetic. This article argues that these approaches neglect the contribution of narrative coherence or plot tomimesis and shows that a judicial conception of narrative underlies the mimesis of neoclassical Renaissance drama, including Shakespeare. Mimetic readings of Shakespeare may thus be appropriately legalistic responses to an evidentially based conception of plot.

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