Stage, Stake, and Scaffold: Humans and Animals in Shakespeares Theatre

Paperback | January 9, 2014

byAndreas Hofele

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The powerful exchanges between stage, stake, and scaffold - the theatre, the bear garden and the spectacle of public execution - crucially informed Shakespeare's explorations into the construction and workings of "the human". The theatre's family resemblance to animal baiting and the spectacleof punishment, its sharing of the same basic type of performance space - a theatre-in-the-round, a scaffold, stake or platform surrounded by spectators - bred an ever-ready potential for a transfer of images and meanings. The staging of one of these kinds of performance is always framed by anawareness of the other two, whose presence is never quite erased and often, indeed, emphatically foregrounded. Situating Shakespearean drama within its material environment, Andreas Hofele explores how this spill-over affects the way Shakespeare models his human characters and his understanding of "human character" in general. His dramatis personae are infused with a degree of animality that a later, morespecifically Cartesian, anthropology would categorically efface. Readings based on such an anthropology tend to reduce Shakespeare's teeming multitude of animal references to a stable marker of moral, social, and ontological difference, "beast" being everything "man" is not or ought not to be. Incontrast, Hofele argues that Shakespearean notions of humanity rely just as much on inclusion as on exclusion of the animal. Humans and animals face each other across the species divide, but the divide proves highly permeable.

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The powerful exchanges between stage, stake, and scaffold - the theatre, the bear garden and the spectacle of public execution - crucially informed Shakespeare's explorations into the construction and workings of "the human". The theatre's family resemblance to animal baiting and the spectacleof punishment, its sharing of the same basi...

Andreas Hofele is Professor of English at Munich University. His publications include books on Shakespeare's stagecraft, late 19th-century parody and on Malcolm Lowry, as well as numerous articles on Renaissance and 20th-century themes and six novels. He is a member of the Heidelberg and of the Bavarian Academies of Science and Presid...

other books by Andreas Hofele

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Kobo ebook|Dec 12 2013

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:330 pagesPublished:January 9, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198701012

ISBN - 13:9780198701019

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Table of Contents

1. 'What beast was't then': Stretching the Boundaries in Macbeth2. A Kingdom for a Scaffold3. 'More than a creeping thing': Baiting Coriolanus4. Cannibal - Animal: Figurations of the (In)Human in Montaigne, Foxe and Shakespearean Revenge Tragedy5. 'I'll see their trial first': Law and Disorder in Lear's Animal Kingdom6. Revels' End: The Tempest and AfterBibliographyIndex

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"This is fascinating stuff" --The Stage