Philippa Berry draws on feminist theory, postmodern thought and queer theory, to challenge existing critical notions of what is fundamental to Shakespearean tragedy. She shows how, through a network of images clustered around feminine or feminized characters, these plays 'disfigure' conventional ideas of death as a bodily end, as their figures of women are interwoven with provocative meditations upon matter, time, the soul, and the body. The scope of these tragic speculations was radical in Shakespeare's day; yet they also have a surprising relevance to contemporary debates about time and matter in science and philosophy.

chapter |20 pages

Disfigured Endings

Sexual Matters and Shakespeare's Ars Moriendi

chapter |23 pages

Double Dying and Other Tragic Inversions

Romeo Juliet (c.1596)

chapter |28 pages

Echoic Language and Tragic Identity

Hamlet (1600)

chapter |30 pages

Disclosing the Feminine Eye of Death

Tragedy and Seeing in the Dark Othello (1602–3)

chapter |33 pages

Fortune's Fools

Revolutions of Time, Fate and Sovereignty Macbeth (c.1606)

chapter |32 pages

Cordelia's Bond and Britannia's Missing Middle

King Lear (c.1606)