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The Invention of SuspicionLaw and Mimesis in Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama$
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Lorna Hutson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212439

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212439.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 December 2021

Forensic Rhetoric in Early Revenge Tragedy and Early Romantic Comedy: Kyd, Lyly, and Shakespeare

Forensic Rhetoric in Early Revenge Tragedy and Early Romantic Comedy: Kyd, Lyly, and Shakespeare

Chapter:
(p.259) 6 Forensic Rhetoric in Early Revenge Tragedy and Early Romantic Comedy: Kyd, Lyly, and Shakespeare
Source:
The Invention of Suspicion
Author(s):

Lorna Hutson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212439.003.0007

This chapter examines the place of forensic rhetoric and of evidential uncertainty in two other innovative genres of the 1580s and 1590s: revenge tragedy and romantic comedy. In pre-Reformation penitential discourses on murder as sin, the concept of Purgatory as an intermediary or transitory place helped deal, conceptually, with the evidential problems of this-worldly justice, since sinful failures of justice might be atoned for in the purgatorial time/space between heaven and hell. Kyd's Spanish Tragedy, like contemporary murder pamphlets, attempts to translate Purgatory's otherworldly intermediateness into the delay and deferral of justice by the processes of evidential inquiry in this world. The chapter then considers a scandalous aspect of the evidential uncertainty characteristic of Roman Comedy: the uncertainty of paternity that enables ‘romantic’ recognition. It shows how Lyly's Mother Bombie and Shakespeare's Lost Labour's Lost wittily adapt the forensic rhetoric of classical comedy to respond to this scandal.

Keywords:   Purgatory, revenge tragedy, Providentialism, murder, recognition, romantic comedy, faith, Mother Bombie, Lost Labour's Lost, Spanish Tragedy

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