Ghosts and Dreams in the Renaissance Drama: A Comparison Between Selected Tragedies

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GRIN Verlag, 2007 - 52 pages
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Seminar paper from the year 2007 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: Gut, University of Bonn (Institut fur Anglistik, Amerikanistik und Keltologie), course: Revenge in the Renaissance, 9 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Sinister, unearthly, sometimes even all-knowing: Ghosts and metaphysical entities accompany stories, legends and and superstitious tales throughout the centuries. They are doomed as evil and satanic, or used to illustrate morality by "settling" their earthly bussiness with human evil-doers. They might even be good, yet can never completely to be trusted. Their connection with the dead makes them attractive as characters with powers above the human boundries. In the Elizabethan drama as in contrast to modern dramas, supernatural events and entities such as ghosts, apparitions, dreams and visions play a major and sometimes even crucial role in the plot. In this paper I would like to take a closer look at the Elizabethan fascination with the "unseen," how authors implemented it into their plays and what roles these ghosts and dreams played. Introductory I will look at the general view of the unnatrural from the Renaissance perspective. In order to stay within the proper range of this paper I have chosen a selection of four tragedies written by four different playwrights. In each of the plays, a ghostly character appears, mostly in dreamlike visions. I would like to discuss the scenes in which these characters appear and compare the characters with another in the conclusion of the paper.
  

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Page 6 - Heaven is for thee too high To know what passes there ; be lowly wise : Think only what concerns thee and thy being, Dream not of other worlds, what creatures there Live, in what state, condition, or degree, Contented that thus far hath been revealed Not of earth only, but of highest Heaven.
Page 15 - What a mockery hath death made of thee? Thou look'st sad. In what place art thou? in yon starry gallery, Or in the cursed dungeon? No? not speak? Pray, sir, resolve me, what religion's best For a man to die in? or is it in your knowledge To answer me how long I have to live?
Page 15 - This is beyond melancholy. I do dare my fate To do its worst. Now to my sister's lodging, And sum up all these horrors : the disgrace The prince threw on me ; next the piteous sight Of my dead brother ; and my mother's dotage ; And last this terrible vision : all these Shall with Vittoria's bounty turn to good. Or I will drown this weapon in her blood.
Page 8 - Though not ignoble, yet inferior far To gracious fortunes of my tender youth: For there in prime and pride of all my years, By duteous service and deserving love, In secret I possessed a worthy dame, 10 Which hight sweet Bel-imperia by name. But in the harvest of my summer joys Death's winter nipped the blossoms of my bliss, Forcing divorce betwixt my love and me.
Page 9 - Lorenzo is join'd in league, And intercepts our passage to revenge : Awake, Revenge, or we are woe-begone ! Revenge. Thus worldlings ground, what they have dream'd, upon.
Page 9 - If destiny thy miseries do ease, Then hast thou health, and happy shalt thou be: If destiny deny thee life, Hieronimo, Yet shalt thou be assured of a tomb: If neither, yet let this thy comfort be: Heaven covereth him that hath no burial.
Page 15 - Ha! I can stand thee. Nearer, nearer yet. What a mockery hath death made of thee? Thou look'st sad. In what place art thou? in yon starry gallery, Or in the cursed dungeon? No? not speak? Pray, sir, resolve me, what religion's best For a man to die in? or is it in your knowledge To answer me how long I have to live? That's the most necessary question. Not answer? Are you still like some great men That only walk...
Page 10 - Behold, Andrea, for an instance, how Revenge hath slept, and then imagine thou, What 'tis to be subject to destiny.
Page 8 - And what, then, is to be thought of those witches who in this way sometimes collect male organs in great numbers, as many as twenty or thirty members together, and put them in a bird's nest, or shut them up in a box, where they move themselves like living members, and eat oats and corn, as has been seen by many and is a matter of common report?
Page 4 - One effect of this form of thinking was to make the unseen and the imperceptible a real thing, so that the supernatural seemed ready at any time to pass over the margin and assume a perceptible form.

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