• On the Unruly Power of Pain in Middle English Drama

    Author(s):
    Susan M. Nakley (see profile)
    Date:
    2015
    Group(s):
    CLCS Medieval, GS Drama and Performance, LLC Middle English, TC Philosophy and Literature, TC Postcolonial Studies
    Subject(s):
    Middle English, Drama, Postcolonial theatre, Medieval drama, Literature and medicine, Pain, Performance
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    empire, patriarchy
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6W66981B
    Abstract:
    Late medieval culture tends to value pain highly and positively. Accordingly, much medievalist scholarship links pain with fear and emphasizes their usefulness in the period’s philosophy, literature, visual art, and drama. Yet, key moments in The York Play of the Crucifixion, The Second Shepherds’ Play, and The Tretise of Miraclis Pleyinge trouble the significance of pain and its relationships with punishment and performance; these works admit the unreliability of pain and fear, even as they harness the formidable power pain holds throughout Middle English literature. This essay analyzes passages from all three texts to demonstrate their deep skepticism about the signifying power of pain alongside their abiding investments in pain’s utility. I argue that these texts ultimately challenge Middle English drama’s dominant discourses of patriarchy and empire by way of their representations of pain.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    9 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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