• Why Ganymede Faints and the Duke of York Weeps: Passion Plays in Shakespeare

    Author(s):
    Sujata Iyengar (see profile)
    Date:
    2017
    Subject(s):
    Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616, Emotions (Philosophy), Medicine, History, Books
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Gender studies, blood, menstruation, Theatre history, Shakespeare, Philosophy of emotion, History of medicine, Book history
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6W24D
    Abstract:
    This article revisits contemporary critical debates surrounding the presence of cross-dressed boys as women on the early modern stage – in particular the question of whether or to what extent boy-actors could or should be said to represent ‘women’ or ‘femininity’ – through the Shakespearian emblem of the bloody rag or handkercher. In all but one instance, these soiled napkins appear alongside what the plays call ‘passion’ of various kinds. I examine bloody rags on Shakespeare’s stage in the light of early modern anti-theatrical polemics, medical disputes about sex-difference and the conflicted cultural status of printed paper in order to argue that these besmirched tokens bring together early modern ‘passions’ in multiple senses: strong or overpowering, embodied feeling; the fluid dynamics of early modern bodies; the Passion of Christ; erotic suffering; and, crucially, the performance on stage of all of the above.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    5 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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