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Of Seas and Oceans, of Storms and Wreckage, of Water Battles and Love in Shakespeare’s Plays

Avril 2020

Résumé :

Edited by Estelle Rivier-Arnaud

Original Sketch by Baptiste Arnaud

Perhaps because Shakespeare’s homeland was surrounded by the ocean, water is a constant source of inspiration in his plays. In Early-modern times, sea lanes represented voyages, escapes, explorations and conquests. They were a means to protect oneself from the enemy and a source of pride (remember Elizabeth’s victory over the Invincible Armada). In the poet’s canon, the sea conveys a vast palette of images and emotions such as dilemmas, loss, love, battles, success and fate. It also provides the script with a rhythmic pattern possibly reflecting the ebb and flow of waves on the shores.
The sea can be on- and off-stage ; it is a structuring device often used for characterization ; it can also embody human qualities – like ambition and force – and, last but not least, it is the emblem of Shakespeare’s unfathomable imagination. In his final romance, The Tempest, which is central in this volume, the sea becomes a climactic symbol of regeneration : it “permeates the essence of the play […], and leaves the characters and audience convinced that ‘though the seas threaten, they are merciful,’” to quote Tony Jason Stafford in Shakespeare’s Use of the Sea, 1996 (3-4). In this play, the sea translates the author’s mature art and his elaborate vision of a world that has changed and which the theatrical space can hardly encompass. And yet, what Shakespeare’s company did and the stage-directors still try to do today was to represent this kaleidoscopic and metamorphic entity, resorting to another boundless tool : the art of performance.
Original sketch by Baptiste Arnaud

Contributeurs :

Estelle Rivier-Arnaud

Shakespeare’s Imperfect “Art of Navigation”. Controlling the Forces of the Sea in The Tempest (1611)
Fiammeta Dionisio

A Shipwreck with no Ship and no Sea : Craig’s Ideas on Tempest I, 1
Patrick Le Bœuf

Toward a Blue Gender Studies : The Sea, Diana, and Feminine Virtue in Pericles
Alexander Lowe McAdams

The Travails of The Comedy of Errors in Athens
Efterpi Mitsi

Metatheatrical Storms in Georges Lavaudant’s Une Tempête… (2010) and Oskaras Koršunovas’ Miranda (2011)
Dana Monah

Mors bona, or, Storm in a tea cup ? Shakespeare’s Tempest in a puppet and live-actor production
Gabriella Reuss

Doran’s and Taymor’s Tempest : Digitalizing the Storm, a Dialogue between Theatre and Cinema
Estelle Rivier-Arnaud

Pascal Rambert’s Antony and Cleopatra (1995) : deep in love and in water
Isabelle Schwartz-Gastine

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