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Unto the BreachMartial Formations, Historical Trauma, and the Early Modern Stage$
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Patricia A. Cahill

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212057

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212057.001.0001

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Epilogue: Dreadful Marches

Epilogue: Dreadful Marches

Traumatic Time and Space in Shakespeare's Richard III

Chapter:
(p.209) Epilogue: Dreadful Marches
Source:
Unto the Breach
Author(s):

Patricia A. Cahill (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212057.003.0007

This epilogue argues that analysis of war dramas must account for the ways in which performances, through their aesthetic elements, bears witness to experiences of confusion and bewilderment. It focuses on the question of traumatic address in Richard III, a play that turns attention in its last act to the forms of modern warfare and to discourses of abstraction that are not unlike those under consideration in the first half of this volume. Departing from traditional readings of the play's ending, the epilogue suggests that Shakespeare's interest in the disposition of space and the forward march of time is deeply bound up with its aesthetics of discontinuity and disorientation. By focusing on the ghosts who appear on Bosworth Field, it proposes that the play, through its destabilizing representations of space and time, ultimately presents audiences with an experience not unlike Richard's own uncanny meeting with the past.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, Richard III, aesthetics, uncanny, Bosworth Field, ghosts, traumatic address

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