Abstract

What cognitive process allows a spectator to experience shock and surprise at a character’s actions, yet, a moment later, to decide that the actions presented onstage are coherent and understandable? Drawing upon theories of mindreading and conceptual blending, I offer a dynamic model of character that accounts for surprise, ambiguity, and dramatic shifts of understanding. Subtle changes to one’s perceptions, empathic imagination, and social knowledge—the sort of changes that accumulate throughout the viewing of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night—can alter one’s understanding of a character in unexpected ways.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 122-135
Launched on MUSE
2012-08-18
Open Access
No
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