In William Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton’s problem play, Timon of Athens, the fate of the city hangs in the balance as the eponymous character threatens it with literal and figurative diseases from outside its walls. Strikingly, the plague itself is evoked thirteen times throughout the play, rendering the drama itself exceptional in boldly referring to the disease that ravaged London in 1603, the approximate year in which the play was first performed. Jodie Austin examines the theme of plague in Timon of Athens to argue that Shakespeare and Middleton produced a radical representation of the plague as a force for good—more specifically, as a force designed to scourge the ailing body politic of disorder. Ultimately, her aim is to promote discursive alignment between early modern literary studies and disciplines related to the history of medicine through a close examination of a relatively rare dramatic treatment of plague from the seventeenth century.


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pp. 269-289
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