Lucy Munro (King's College, London) “’Sblood! Playing with Bad Language in Shakespeare’s Tragedies” A Shakespeare Birthday Lecture
Why do Iago and Hamlet use bad language, and what were its potential effects on early modern spectators? Why do editors often seem uneasy with swearing in Shakespeare’s tragedies, and how is this unease reflected on the twenty-first century stage and screen? This talk explores the aesthetic, social, and affective impact of blasphemous oaths in Othello and Hamlet, attempting to recover some of their original force and examining their implications for our understanding of these plays.