The Unheard Prayer: Religious Toleration in Shakespeare's Drama

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BRILL, Jul 26, 2012 - Drama - 224 pages
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Titus shoots his arrows bearing petitions for justice to the gods; Claudius asks what form of prayer can serve my turn; Lear wishes he could crack the vault of heaven with his prayers. Again and again, Shakespeare dramatises the scenario of the unheard prayer, in which the one who prays does so full well in the knowledge that no one is listening, interested, or even there at all. The scenario is keyed to the anxieties that surrounded the act of praying itself, so full as it was with controversy, the centrepiece of sectarian dispute over what was good and bad religion. This study reads the unheard prayer scenario as itself an appeal for a vision of tolerance, unobtainable perhaps, but nevertheless desired and imagined.
  

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Contents

Oppositional Praying in Titus Andronicus
1
Chapter Two Behold the window of my heartPoems and Unheard Prayers in Loves Labours Lost
34
Chapter Three Outpraying Prayers in Richard II
59
Sovereignty Fraternity Isolation at the Heart of Hamlet
85
Alls Well That Ends Well
106
King Lear
123
Answered Prayer in Shakespeares Late Plays
146
Conclusion
167
Bibliography
171
Index
183
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About the author (2012)

Joseph Sterrett (PhD, Cardiff) is Assistant Professor of Literature in English at Aarhus University, Denmark.

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