Rape’s Metatheatrical Return: Rehearsing Sexual Violence in Titus Andronicus
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In the May 2004 issue of Theatre Journal, Jody Enders tells the story of one Mrs Coton who, on the night of 1 May 1395, was gang-raped in Chelles, France, by a group of men in town to see a show. The story is not new; in fact, it is ‘one of the foundational narratives of medieval French theatre history’(p. 181). What is new is Enders’s emphasis on Mrs Coton as the victim of an act of violence tied, troublingly, to an act of representation. Enders goes on to argue that rape’s normative, even morally instructive stage representations in the medieval period may have proved an important standard by which the crime was ‘habituated’in broader legal and social arenas, and vice versa. Then, in an important aside to contemporary performance scholars, she asks: ‘what are the moral ramifications of theatre’s own scripting and virtuality?’(ibid., pp. 179–80; 167).
KeywordsSexual Violence Rape Victim Sexual Prejudice Early Modern Period Damage Body
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