The Function of Metatheatricality in Epicoene and the Spanish Tragedy and Its Connections to Woman Breaking Social Conventions Within the Plays.
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Metatheatricality is defined by Stuart Davis as “a convenient name for the quality or force in a play which challenges theatre's claim to be simply realistic -- to be nothing but a mirror in which we view the actions and sufferings of characters like ourselves, suspending our disbelief in their reality.” (Metatheatre). It is present in many Renaissance dramas, yet it is analysed, understood and critiqued in a vast variety of ways. Davis claims that metatheatre awakens our minds to life’s “uncanny likeness” to art, theatre and forms undefinable. Metatheatre begins by sharpening our awareness of the unlikeness of life to dramatic art; it may end by making us aware of life's uncanny likeness to art or illusion. This is a term difficult to…show more content… So, within days of the murder of her “sweetest flower”, she is courting Horatio; “Then ward thyself: I dart this kiss at thee” (2.4.40). While Bel-Imperia’s love for Horatio is a reality verses appearance debate, she wastes no time in committing herself to avenging his murder too, “Myself should send their hateful souls to hell,/That wrought his downfall with extremest death” (4.1.28-29). This love is, perhaps, the true indication that Bel-Imperia is self-consciously playing a role. Does she truly love Horatio, is this her reality? The blame of her possible false love cannot be truly blamed solely on Bel-Imperia, as Horatio “redirect[s] Bel-Imperia’s attention from Don-Andrea to himself” (McGinnis Kay 26). Yet, has metatheatricality completely taken over, as she convincingly takes charge and directs her own actions, knowing the impact that it may have on others? Is this a vindictive love-act, merely a cruel catalyst to enrage Balthazar for Bel-Imperia to exert her personal revenge on him? How Kyd develops the confusing, misleading, meta-theatrical nature of the play is described by William N. West as, “Setting himself against [his] earlier plays that resolved their confusions at their conclusions, Kyd proposes a theatre in which the conclusion is not the end of confusion, but its acme. Compared to later plays, The Spanish Tragedy does not simply represent