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Title: 'In order when most out of order' : crowds and crowd scenes in Shakespearean drama
Author: Mladinovic, Mirjam
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 1631
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis investigates the representations of crowds and crowd scenes in Shakespearean drama. Contrary to the assumption that the crowd's character in early modern drama had a peripheral role, this thesis argues that Shakespeare's crowd is a complex "character" in its ,. own right, and that the playwright's use of it in his drama reveals its dramatic importance. / On the stage the crowd was not dangerous because its role was scripted. This study further proposes to view the character of the crowd from a perspective that has not been applied before in reading Shakespeare's drama. It employs Martin Buber's concept 'I-Thou', aiming to demonstrate that Shakespeare's dramatic characters should be perceived as "dramatic items", and examined through their relations, dramatic and theatrical. Furthermore, this thesis introduces the concept of 'the space of the character' which, unlike the term 'character', refers to theatrical relations that shape "dramatic identities" during the theatrical production. This thesis argues that our understanding of the dramatised hero and the crowd is only fully accomplished when we understand, and acknowledge, the relation between them, and that the relation is not only apparent, but inherent to crowd scenes. It is this non-tangible outcome of interaction between staged characters, and the network of these different theatrical relations, that constitutes the 'theatrical' effectiveness of the crowd scene. This thesis further argues that the crowd scenes are always political in nature, and that they focus not only on the interaction between the crowd and the authority figure, but also on the interaction between the stage and the audience. The key point is that the role of the audience in theatre has been widely debated and recognised, and yet the role of crowd scenes has not. This study insists that a crowd scene should be seen as a dramaturgical device or a theatrical trope that utilises the presence of the audience in such a way that no other scene can. It can incorporate the audience in the theatre and simultaneously give them voice on the stage. Through his dramatisation of the character of the crowd Shakespeare reforms our views about crowds. He reminds his audience that the "crowd" is not a many- headed multitude at all times, but that it consists of individuals with different view points. Shakespeare's crowd is thus meaningful and always' in order when most out of order'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available