PERSPECTIVES ON DEATH AND DYING IN SHAKESPEARE’S TIME AND TODAY
While in early modern Europe the brutal commonness of death and dying was experienced on a daily basis, it is often claimed that with the development of medicine and technology mortality has become one of the modern taboos. Public executions, admonitory displays of dead bodies or mass graves of plague victims seem to be as remote from us as ars moriendi and ritualization of dying. Are they? With unprecedented acts of violence disseminated via modern media or a global spread of deadly viruses we are nowadays confronted with the omnipresence of death more acutely than we would like to admit.
Death is treated in this seminar both as a critical situation and as one of the faces of today’s crisis. The participants will explore individual and communal aspects of death in early modern culture and today, examine how death and dying is depicted in a selection of Shakespeare’s plays, and scrutinise how death is treated in Shakespearean productions for stage and screen and how Shakespeare is used in the discourse on death in today’s culture.