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Shakespeare and Classical TragedyThe Influence of Seneca$
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Robert S. Miola

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112648

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112648.001.0001

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Senecan Furor

Senecan Furor

(p.122) 4 Senecan Furor
Shakespeare and Classical Tragedy

Robert S. Miola

Oxford University Press

Cooper's Thesaurus explains how furor is used to refer to ‘a vehement concitation or sturrynge of the minde,’ and it is observable that both Tyrant and Revenge tragedies exude this theme. Furor, in such tragedies, is what drives certain characters to eventful scelus and even instances of self-exaltation. Renaissance authors have made use of this concept in the two subgenres of Senecan plays since these can effectively, and even perhaps simultaneously, express a character's great passions through either heroism or delusion. Furor, as expressed by a third Renaissance genre, illustrates a code of feeling and the articulation of ideas. This chapter carefully looks into two of Shakespeare's famous works — Othello and King Lear — and how these concentrate on the issue of Senecan furor.

Keywords:   furor, scelus, self-exaltation, Renaissance authors, code, Othello, King Lear

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