A Spectator’s Role
Chapter Three: Richard III as “a Tragedy with a Happy Ending”
← 22 | 23 → CHAPTER THREE
Richard III as “a Tragedy with a Happy Ending”
The exact composition and intellectual capacities of the Elizabethan playhouse audiences have been debated by authorities such as Andrew Gurr and Ann Jennalie Cook. The nature of such audiences’ interaction with performed scripts has become an even more dominant issue upon the advent of the New Historicism, with its highly political interpretation of the supposed dramatic “affect” in the Elizabethan playhouses. We have been told by critics such as Stephen Greenblatt of the existence in Elizabethan theatres of Shakespearean Negotiations involving the interaction of the Elizabethan stagings with their audiences. Such negotiations might appear to match the kind of obligatory interactions supposedly governing the play-writing of Lope de Vega. But Greenblatt does not talk much in practical detail about mutual interactions governing the nature of stage performance per se, which Lope de Vega describes as determining his actual composition of scripts. Rather Greenblatt follows Michel Foucault’s fixation on power and social control in his account of the political forces governing enforcement of establishment authority via the players. Such pressures supposedly led the players to influence audiences towards social conformity by offering scripts with seeming subversions that are ultimately invalidated by the ruling powers. This totalitarian management of theatrical activity is politically analogous to Neo-Aristotelian authoritarianism in its application of theories governing the nature of drama.
← 23 | 24 → It is not clear precisely how such systems might intervene in interactions taking place...
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