Shift of Perspective in Jacobean Comedies

Source document: Theory and Practice in English Studies. 2015, vol. 7, iss. 2, pp. [83]-96
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The paper deals with the shift of perspective in English comedies of the Jacobean age—a dramatic technique of influencing the perception of what is going on in a play/on the stage by the readers/audience. This device is illustrated by comedies by one of the most notable playwrights of the time, Thomas Middleton (1580-1627). Employing the film gag theories by Václav Havel and Vít Hrubín, and the theory of defamiliarisation by Viktor Shklovsky, the article argues that the perspective is shifted by defamiliarising (that is, extracting a particular phenomenon from its incorrect, automatised context). Subsequently, the author offers an original classification of the individual types of shifts in Jacobean comedies (outside shift, character shift, carnivalesque shift, clown shift, and theatrical shift) as well as their subtypes, making use of the examples of Middleton's The Roaring Girl and The Old Law.
[1] Havel, Václav. 1999. " Anatomie Gagu " in Eseje a Jiné Texty z Let 1953-1969. Praha: Torst.

[2] Henderson, Diana E. 2011. " Afterlives: Stages and Beyond " in Thomas Middleton in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

[3] Hrubín, Vít. 1970. Stavba Filmového Gagu . n.p.: n.p.

[4] Middleton, Thomas, and Thomas Dekker. 2007. " The Roaring Girl " Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

[5] Middleton, Thomas, William Rowley, and Thomas Dekker. 2007. " The Old Law, or, A New Way to Please You " Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works, Oxford: Clarendon Press.