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Shakespeare's Domestic Tragedies: Violence in the Early Modern Home

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Emma Whipday


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Domestic tragedy was an innovative genre, suggesting that the lives and sufferings of ordinary people were worthy of the dramatic scope of tragedy. In this compelling study, Whipday revises the narrative of Shakespeare's plays to show how this genre, together with neglected pamphlets, ballads, and other forms of 'cheap print' about domestic violence, informed some of Shakespeare's greatest works. Providing a significant reappraisal of Hamlet, Othello, and Macbeth, the book argues that domesticity is central to these plays: they stage how societal and familial pressures shape individual agency; how the integrity of the house is associated with the body of the housewife; and how household transgressions render the home permeable. Whipday demonstrates that Shakespeare not only appropriated constructions of the domestic from domestic tragedies, but that he transformed the genre, using heightened language, foreign settings, and elite spheres to stage familiar domestic worlds.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Whipday E

Publication type: Authored Book

Publication status: Published

Year: 2019

Number of Pages: 262

Print publication date: 01/01/2019

Acceptance date: 30/11/2017

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Place Published: Cambridge, UK

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781108564359