Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
Sly, In Control
Shakespeare knows something the characters don't know, and he carefully crafts this play so that the players stay out of the loop for as long as possible. The confusion builds circles around itself to the degree of total frustration. Shakespeare masterfully manipulates the characters’ language and he's sly about the content of their speech. As a result, the characters say just enough to seem familiar, but not enough to reveal to one another that they're actually strangers. Shakespeare practically acts as puppeteer, having his characters dodge and dart around the actual circumstances, and he's unapologetic about his tight control.