In Words and Deeds: The Spectacle of Incest in English Renaissance Tragedy
Departing from earlier studies which regarded incest as a literary topos or dramatic metaphor foregrounding political, social, or legal issues,Words and Deeds: The Spectacle of Incest in English Renaissance Tragedy argues that the presence of incest on the Renaissance stage is a strategy for the enactment of the spectator's tragic experience. Incest is explored neither as a sin nor as a crime, but as an “unspeakable” experience filtered through dramatic words and deeds. The incitement of desire, visual pleasure, and unconscious fantasy, as well as traumatic rejection, pain, and horror, are all aspects of this paradoxical and uncanny experience. Aristotelian theory of tragedy, Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, and Michel Foucault's notions of the deployment of sexuality and alliance, concur in the analysis of plays where incest is a central or a secondary motif – Ford's'Tis Pity She's a Whore, Beaumont and Fletcher's Cupid's Revenge, Webster'sThe Duchess of Malfi – and others where incest is an effect of language andmise-en-scène – Sackville and Norton's Gorboduc, Shakespeare's King Lear.The variety of topics and the combination of critical perspectives makes In Words and Deedsan attractive book for students and teachers of Renaissance drama, as well as for those with a special interest in psychoanalytic and other new theoretical approaches to the literary text.
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Page 154 - Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, And thou no breath at all ? Thou 'It come no more, Never, never, never, never, never ! Pray you, undo this button : thank you, sir. Do you see this ? Look on her, look, her lips, Look there, look there ! [Dies.
Page 8 - The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an "objective correlative"; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that -particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked.
Page 141 - The barbarous Scythian, Or he that makes his generation messes To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and reliev'd As thou, my sometime daughter.
Page 141 - Let it be so! thy truth then be thy dower! For, by the sacred radiance of the sun, The mysteries of Hecate and the night; By all the operation of the orbs From whom we do exist and cease to be...
Page 137 - Good my lord, You have begot me, bred me, lov'd me : I .Return those duties back as are right fit, Obey you, love you, and most honour you. Why have my sisters husbands if they say They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed, That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry Half my love with him, half my care and duty : Sure I shall never marry like my sisters, To love my father all.
Page 151 - I'll kneel down, And ask of thee forgiveness; so we'll live, // And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too, Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out; And...
Page 128 - It did always seem so to us : but now, in the division of the kingdom, it appears not which of the dukes he values most ; for equalities are so weighed, that curiosity in neither can make choice of cither's moiety.
Page 130 - Tell me, my daughters (Since now we will divest us both of rule, Interest of territory, cares of state), Which of you shall we say doth love us most? That we our largest bounty may extend Where nature doth with merit challenge.
Page 125 - ... the mother herself, the beloved one who is chosen after her pattern, and lastly the Mother Earth who receives him once more.