‘The vices male and female’: rethinking the vice on the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage

PhD Thesis


Wells, Sarah Medea. 2020. ‘The vices male and female’: rethinking the vice on the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/2ER8-DY72
Title

‘The vices male and female’: rethinking the vice on the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorWells, Sarah Medea
SupervisorChalk, Darryl
Johnson, Laurie
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages198
Year2020
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/2ER8-DY72
Abstract

The Vice figure retained presence on the early modern stage long after previous studies have argued it disappeared. These studies, following the pattern set by Bernard Spivack’s Shakespeare and the Allegory of Evil (1958), constrain the Vice in teleology and an overemphasis on the literal stage, and thus fail to perceive the places and times the Vice exceeds their impositions. Unbound by these constraints, it becomes clear that the Vice developed with the changing times, gaining advanced metatheatrical properties which reflect back on the tradition for didactic effect, while retaining its utility in representing corruption or manipulation on the stage, a point borne out by the emergence of a distinct female Vice subtype appearing in the 1580s, the Poetomachia and afterwards, which serves less as a clown and more as a moral source of evil.

Keywordsthe Vice, personification, Renaissance Drama, Shakespeare, Jonson, clowns
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020360403. Drama, theatre and performance studies
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Humanities and Communication
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