Abstract

Protestant reformers viewed the crucifix as the ultimate symbol of Catholic idolatry because it included a visual representation of the body of Christ. Yet both crosses and crucifixes were preserved in homes and private chapels throughout the early modern period. Crucifixes also proliferated on the stage in a variety of fictional contexts. In The White Devil, John Webster presents a small, jeweled crucifix in a positive light by introducing it as an heirloom. Alluding to the role that such objects continued to play in recusant families, Webster uses his crucifix to evoke sympathy for Cornelia, the play's embattled matriarch, while simultaneously questioning the stability of the token she values so highly.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 473-490
Launched on MUSE
2007-06-11
Open Access
No
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