Lamentation in the late plays of Shakespeare.


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This thesis will consider portrayals of lamentation and weeping in The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest, and Cymbeline. These late plays of Shakespeare identify and assess various motivations behind affective response. In The Winter’s Tale, a clear hierarchy of moral lamentation emerges based on the extent to which instances of weeping adhere to the preferences of a morally central character. Next, this thesis will consider The Tempest, which upholds the hierarchy established in The Winter’s Tale and which emphasizes the effectual value (as opposed to the moral value) of repentant weeping. Lastly, I argue that Cymbeline adheres to and modifies this hierarchy, demonstrating that the bodily nature of weeping interferes with higher expressions of grief, such as song. The framework that emerges from these three plays, then, is one that prizes penitence, discourages self-pity, and maintains a realistic vision of the limitations of embodied lament.



Lamentation. Weeping. Shakespeare.