Stage directions: Shakespeare's use of the map

Hollis, Gavin Russell (2000). Stage directions: Shakespeare's use of the map. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.

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This study argues that sixteenth-century map culture is a source for Shakespeare's plays, and that his use of the map, as cartographic language and as stage property, is a factor in understanding Shakespeare's representation of power. Maps empower their users and their makers, at the expense of those who are mapped those who live on the land represented. However, the stage counters the map's effectiveness as a tool of power. In Shakespeare's plays, characters using the map to achieve power fail, partly because of their inability to read maps and use them properly, and partly because the map and the stage's relationship with the space they represent is different. Land is staged refusing to yield to the map's attempts to break it down, and those living on the land are staged resisting their inclusion or exclusion from it.
Plays and issues discussed include the mis-use of the map in The Second Tetralogy, the weaknesses of cartography and stage-mapping in Richard III and King Lear, the presence of death on the map in relation to Antony and Cleopatra, and mapping body-space in Cymbeline.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Humanities
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, The Shakespeare Institute
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
P Language and Literature > PR English literature


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