Forgiveness and repentance in early modern drama

Leslie Gibson, Joy (2019). Forgiveness and repentance in early modern drama. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The thesis starts with an examination of how repentance and forgiveness came into the ethical philosophy of Western Europe through mono-theistic religion and contrasts this with the thought of Plato, Aristotle and Medieval literature (the English Mystics, Chivalric Literature, early Drama). After the Reformation the controversy between Catholic and Protestant beliefs continued and restricted the discussion of repentance and forgiveness in drama until, it is argued, the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots gave greater freedom to the theatre. The second part of the thesis deals with fifteen plays of Shakespeare and by five of his contemporaries. It considers sacrilege in the second tetralogy of history plays, and regret (as distinct from repentance) and forgiveness in texts such as Macbeth and King Lear. Chapters on the themes of mercy and justice and on ‘unforgiving men’ range across Shakespeare, Webster and Heywood. The conclusion notes how repentance and forgiveness have been largely absent from the theatre since the early modern period on which this thesis focuses.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and Creative Studies, The Shakespeare Institute
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature


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