Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Commentators have long noted Shakespeare’s indebtedness to New Comedy throughout his career. Passages and plays of Plautus and Terence contributed characters, configurations, plots, and dramatic devices to Shakespeare, who transformed them into new creations. But classical comedy depicted also human lust, folly, and vice, especially as read by later Christian generations. Three points of dissonance between classical comedy and Christian reading claim our attention as Shakespeare refigures New Comedic rage, prostitution, and rape in his comedies. In Shakespeare’s receptions the rage of the senex iratus, ‘angry old man’, becomes variously expressed and interrogated, wholly integrated into the thematic and moral schemes of his plays. Comedic prostitution supplies Shakespeare’s depictions of gender conflicts and becomes a central and pervasive metaphor for the human condition in Troilus and Cressida. Finally, Shakespeare transforms New Comedic rape in a number of plays, rewriting the ancient paradigm to disempower the men and empower the women.

Keywords: New Comedy, rage, rape, prostitution, classical reception

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.