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Title: The uses of animals in English early modern drama, 1558-1642
Author: Grant, T. J.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2001
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This dissertation is about the use of animals in early modern English drama between 1558-1642. There are two main aims of this investigation: to determine the dramaturigcal effects of animals on the stage and to historicise the plays by setting them in their epistemological context. My work compares the plays' different treatments of animals in order to ascertain whether there can be said to be a coherent early modern 'dramaturgy of animals'; how it differs from the employment of animals in Medieval and Classical drama; and how genre is affected by their use. The introductory Chapter 1 recapitulates the critical contexts into which may work fits and sketches out the early modern literary and natural-historical background to the plays. Chapter 2: In the drama of the period, apes heighten awareness of man's humanity: some writers consider that dressing up as an animal threatens man's soul because it denies his 'godlike' image. Specifically with apes, of course, this 'denial' is parodic, but this makes it more, rather than less, dangerous to the divine order. Travel literature as well as drama (including The Tempest), is used to interrogate the usefulness of metaphorical monkeys. Mr Moore's Revels and other masques draw attention to parallels between apes and Africans, and women and apes. Chapter 3: Reading the real dogs in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Every Man Out of His Humour, and The Staple of News as light entertainment, as previous critics have, constitutes a misinterpretation of the drama in its historical context. This involvement in the plots and imagery demonstrates that the playwright's intention was to elucidate the relationship between man and animal. A dog on the stage interrogates the 'realness' of stage business with a more direct, and more problematical method, than pleas from Prologues for the audience to suspend its disbelief. The 'dogginess', and the dramatic effect, of the costume devil-dog in The Witch of Edmonton is discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available