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Chapter 7 - Audiences

Much Ado about Nothing, Measure for Measure

from Part I - Contexts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 October 2020

Katharine A. Craik
Affiliation:
Oxford Brookes University
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Summary

What do audience members feel when they go to playhouses, and how and why do they feel it? This essay explores responses to performances within plays as models for imagining the circulation of emotions in theatres. In Much Ado About Nothing, Claudio watches other men play-act versions of himself courting Hero, while Beatrice and Benedick fall in love by eavesdropping on staged stories of each other’s feelings. In Measure for Measure, a deputy representing Duke Vincentio responds unpredictably to watching Isabella’s commissioned performance of pleading on her brother’s behalf. Like playgoers, these characters experience emotions by participating vicariously in deliberately orchestrated dramas. In particular, identifying with surrogates who act on their behalf offers them otherwise risky forms of affective licence. In his depictions of these responses to performances, Shakespeare explores the uneasy status of the artificially induced emotions experienced in playhouses, and the thorny question of who or what is responsible for generating them.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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  • Audiences
  • Edited by Katharine A. Craik, Oxford Brookes University
  • Book: Shakespeare and Emotion
  • Online publication: 01 October 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108235952.009
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  • Audiences
  • Edited by Katharine A. Craik, Oxford Brookes University
  • Book: Shakespeare and Emotion
  • Online publication: 01 October 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108235952.009
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Audiences
  • Edited by Katharine A. Craik, Oxford Brookes University
  • Book: Shakespeare and Emotion
  • Online publication: 01 October 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108235952.009
Available formats
×