Abstract

Abstract:

This article shows that William Shakespeare's late tragicomic romances model metatheatrical devices speaking to and for an increasingly heterogeneous and cosmopolitan audience. Contrasting efficacious theatrical artifice with oratory, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest appropriate rhetoric's cultural authority for commercial theater. These tragicomic romances advance a fantasy about the efficacy of dramatic persuasion appealing to an audience containing every category of person within seventeenth-century London, an increasingly pluralistic city with a newly global reach. The Winter's Tale and The Tempest transform problematic representations of social strife and communication into part of the value of theatrical experience, offering playgoers a position of forensic detachment with which to view events performed on stage. This fantasy reshapes dramatic performance into a commodity, but it also represents traditional legitimations for hierarchy and social order as performative.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0383
Print ISSN
0039-3738
Pages
pp. 719-741
Launched on MUSE
2018-10-04
Open Access
No
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