Templin 2014 Cursing

Title Information

Author: Lisa Marie Templin

Title: "I'le Tell My Sorrowes Unto Heaven, My Curse to Hell"

Subtitle: Cursing Women in Early Modern Drama

Thesis: M.A. Thesis, University of Ottawa

Year: 2014

Pages: iv + 119pp.

Language: English

Keywords: 17th Century | English History | Representations: Literature / John Fletcher, William Rowley

Full Text

Link: uO Research (Free Access)

Additional Information

Author: Academia.edu

Abstract: »The female characters in Shakespeare’s 2 Henry VI and Richard III; Rowley’s All’s Lost by Lust; Fletcher’s The Tragedy of Valentinian; Rowley, Dekker, and Ford’s The Witch of Edmonton; and Brome and Heywood’s The Late Witches of Lancashire curse their enemies because, as women, they have no other way to fight against the injustices they experience. At once an extension of the early modern belief that words are “women’s weapons,” and dangerously beyond the feminine ideal of silence, the curse, as a performative speech act, resembles the physical weapons wielded by men in its potential to cause serious harm. Using Judith Butler’s theory of gender as performative and J. L. Austin’s theory of performative utterances, this thesis argues that curses function as part of the cursing woman’s performative identity, and by using speech as a weapon, the cursing woman gains a measure of social agency within the social order even if she cannot change her place within it.« (Source: Thesis)


  Abstract (p. iii)
  Acknowledgements (p. iv)
  Introduction (p. 1)
  Chapter One: "In the Breath of Bitter Words": Cursing, Femininity, and Power in 2 Henry VI and Richard III (p. 19)
    Words and Action (p. 19)
    Cursing and Performative Femininity (p. 30)
    Cursing and Female Power (p. 39)
  Chapter Two: "Shame Thou to Speak; My Shame Enforceth Me": Chastity, Consent, and Curses in The Tragedy of Valentinian and All's Lost by Lust (p. 46)
    Cursing and Non-Consent (p. 47)
    Cursing and Divine Witnesses (p. 63)
    Cursing and Revenge (p. 65)
  Chapter Three: "Ho! Have I Found Thee Cursing?": Social Disruption and Unruly Speech in The Witch of Edmonoton and The Late Lancashire Witches (p. 73)
    Performative Language and Witchcraft (p. 74)
    Witchcraft and the Power for Social Disruption (p. 80)
    Confession and the Containment of Supernatural Threat (p. 90)
  Conclusion (p. 105)
  Works Cited (p. 111)

Wikipedia: John Fletcher (playwright): Valentinian (play); William Rowley: All's Lost by Lust

Added: December 20, 2014 – Last updated: December 20, 2014