Advertisement

Children, Normality, and Domestic Tragedy

  • Emily O’BrienEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Shakespeare Studies book series (PASHST)

Abstract

Early modern domestic tragedy presents a familiar, recognisable, everyday world in which things go terribly wrong—that is, the plays labour to stage a version of normality which they envision as central to their moral applicability and tragic impression on the spectator. However, despite a longstanding critical focus on the family in the sub-genre, the role of children in this process has been overlooked. Through an analysis of Thomas Middleton’s A Yorkshire Tragedy, this chapter reveals the centrality of the child characters to the play’s representation of disrupted normality, and how this relates to the broader ethical and aesthetic project of domestic tragedy.

Works Cited

  1. Anon. 1599. A Warning for Faire Women. London: Valentine Sims for William Aspley.Google Scholar
  2. Anon. 1608. A Yorkshire Tragedy. London: Thomas Pavier.Google Scholar
  3. Anon. 2002. Mundus et Infans. In Three Late Medieval Morality Plays, ed. G.A. Lester. London: A & C Black.Google Scholar
  4. Balizet, Ariane M. 2014. Blood and Home in Early Modern Drama: Domestic Identity on the Renaissance Stage. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baxter, Jane Eva. 2005. The Archaeology of Childhood: Children, Gender, and Material Culture. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  6. Belsey, Catherine. 2007. Little Princes: Shakespeare’s Royal Children. In Shakespeare and Childhood, ed. Kate Chedgzoy, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Robert Shaughnessy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Campana, Joseph. 2011. Shakespeare’s Children. Literature Compass 8 (1): 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cawley, A.C., and Barry Gaines (eds.). 1986. A Yorkshire Tragedy. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Chedgzoy, Kate. 2007. Introduction: “What, Are They Children?”. In Shakespeare and Childhood, ed. Kate Chedgzoy, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Robert Shaughnessy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Collier, J.P. 1831. The History of English Dramatic Poetry to the Time of Shakespeare. London: J. Murray.Google Scholar
  11. Comensoli, Viviana. 1996. Household Business: Domestic Plays of Early Modern England. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  12. Corless, Adrienne. 2013, February 16. A Hoard of 16th- and 17th-Century Children’s Toys. Irish Archaeology. http://irisharchaeology.ie/2013/02/a-hoard-of-16th-and-17th-century-childrens-toys. Accessed 5 September 2017.
  13. Dolan, Frances. 1994. Dangerous Familiars: Representations of Domestic Crime in England, 1550–1700. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Duane, Anna Mae. 2013. Questioning the Autonomous Subject and Individual Rights. In The Children’s Table: Childhood Studies and the Humanities, ed. Anna Mae Duane. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.Google Scholar
  15. Ferraro, Joanne M. 2012. Childhood in Medieval and Early Modern Times. In The Routledge History of Childhood in the Western World, ed. Paula S. Fass. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Gray, Douglas. 2015. Simple Forms: Essays on Medieval English Popular Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Greenberg, Marissa. 2007. Signs of the Crimes: Topography, Murder, and Early Modern Domestic Tragedy. Genre 40 (1–2): 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Griffiths, Paul. 1996. Youth and Authority: Formative Experiences in England, 1560–1640. Oxford: Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Haber, Judith. 2009. Desire and Dramatic Form. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Higginbotham, Jennifer. 2013. The Girlhood of Shakespeare’s Sisters: Gender, Transgression, Adolescence. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jackson, MacDonald P. 2014. Determining the Shakespeare Canon: Arden of Faversham and A Lover’s Complaint. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kathman, David. 2005. How Old Were Shakespeare’s Boy Actors? Shakespeare Survey 58: 220–246.Google Scholar
  23. King, Margaret. 2007. Concepts of Childhood: What We Know and Where We Might Go. Renaissance Quarterly 60 (2): 371–407.Google Scholar
  24. Kirwan, Peter. 2010. “If the Law Could Forgive as Soon as I”: A Review of A Yorkshire Tragedy at the White Bear Theatre Pub, London, January 2010. Law and Humanities 4 (1): 162–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kirwan, Peter. 2015. Shakespeare and the Idea of the Apocrypha. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Knowles, Katie. 2012. Shakespeare’s “Terrible Infants”?: Children in Richard III, King John, and Macbeth. In The Child in British Literature: Literary Constructions of Childhood, Medieval to Contemporary, ed. Adrienne E. Gavin. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  27. Lamb, Edel. 2009. Performing Childhood in the Early Modern Theatre: The Children’s Playing Companies (1599–1613). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Laslett, Peter. 1983. The World We Have Lost: Further Explored, 3rd ed. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  29. Loughnane, Rory. 2013. Introduction: Stages of Transgression. In Staged Transgression in Shakespeare’s England, ed. Rory Loughnane and Edel Semple. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Martin, Randall. 2001. “Arden Winketh at His Wife’s Lewdness, & Why!”: A Patrilineal Crisis in Arden of Faversham. Early Theatre 4: 13–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Middleton, Thomas. 2007. Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works, ed. Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  32. More, Thomas. 1997. The Complete Works of St. Thomas More, vol. 1, ed. Anthony S.G. Edwards, Katherine Gardiner Rodgers, and Clarence H. Miller. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Munro, Lucy. 2007. Coriolanus and the Little Eyases: The Boyhood of Shakespeare’s Hero. In Shakespeare and Childhood, ed. Kate Chedgzoy, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Robert Shaughnessy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Munro, Lucy. 2017. Speaking Like a Child: Staging Children’s Speech in Early Modern Drama. In Childhood, Education and the Stage in Early Modern England, ed. Richard Preiss and Deanne Williams. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Orlin, Lena Cowen. 1994. Private Matters and Public Culture in Post-Reformation England. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Orme, Nicholas. 2001. Child’s Play in Medieval England. History Today 51 (10): 49–55.Google Scholar
  37. Piesse, A.J. 2007. Character Building: Shakespeare’s Children in Context. In Shakespeare and Childhood, ed. Kate Chedgzoy, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Robert Shaughnessy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Richardson, Catherine. 2005. Properties of Domestic Life: The Table in Heywood’s A Woman Killed with Kindness. In Staged Properties in Early Modern English Drama, ed. Jonathan Gil Harris and Natasha Korda. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Richardson, Catherine. 2007. Domestic Life and Domestic Tragedy in Early Modern England. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Robson, Lynn. 2008. “Now Farewell to the Lawe, Too Long Have I Been in Thy Subjection”: Early Modern Murder, Calvinism and Female Spiritual Authority. Literature and Theology 22 (3): 295–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rutter, Carol Chillington. 2007. Shakespeare and Child’s Play: Performing Lost Boys on Stage and Screen. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Scott, Charlotte. 2017. Incapable and Shallow Innocents: Mourning Shakespeare’s Children in Richard III and The Winter’s Tale. In Childhood, Education and the Stage in Early Modern England, ed. Richard Preiss and Deanne Williams. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Shakespeare, William. 2016. The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition, ed. Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Shuger, Deborah. 1997. Habits of Thought in the English Renaissance: Religion, Politics and the Dominant Culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  45. Sturgess, Keith (ed.). 1969. Three Elizabethan Domestic Tragedies: Arden of Faversham, A Yorkshire Tragedy, A Woman Killed with Kindness. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  46. Taylor, Gary, and Doug Duhaime. 2017. Who Wrote the Fly Scene (3.2) in Titus Andronicus?: Automated Searches and Deep Reading. In The New Oxford Shakespeare: Authorship Companion, ed. Gary Taylor and Gabriel Egan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Taylor, Gary, and John Lavagnino (eds.). 2007. Thomas Middleton: Collected Works. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  48. Taylor, Gary, and Rory Loughnane. 2017. The Canon and Chronology of Shakespeare’s Works. In The New Oxford Shakespeare: Authorship Companion, ed. Gary Taylor and Gabriel Egan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Travitsky, Betty S. 1993. Child Murder in English Renaissance Life and Drama. Medieval & Renaissance Drama in England 6: 63–84.Google Scholar
  50. van Es, Bart. 2017. Shakespeare Versus Blackfriars: Satiric Comedy, Domestic Tragedy, and the Boy Actor in Othello. In Childhood, Education and the Stage in Early Modern England, ed. Richard Preiss and Deanne Williams. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Wall, Wendy. 2006. Just a Spoonful of Sugar: Syrup and Domesticity in Early Modern England. Modern Philology 104 (2): 149–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Webster, John. 2009. The Duchess of Malfi, 2nd ed., ed. John Russell Brown. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  53. White, Martin (ed.). 1982. Introduction. In Arden of Faversham. London: Benn.Google Scholar
  54. Witmore, Michael. 2007. Pretty Creatures: Children and Fiction in the English Renaissance. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trinity College DublinThe University of DublinDublinIreland

Personalised recommendations