TITLE

Words Made of Breath: Gender and Vocal Agency in King John

AUTHOR(S)
Bloom, Gina
PUB. DATE
January 2005
SOURCE
Shakespeare Studies (0582-9399);2005, Vol. 33, p125
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Literary Criticism
ABSTRACT
This article examines the tensions between spiritual and material meanings of breath in William Shakespeare's play King John. When Philip, the conflicted French monarch of Shakespeare's King John, swears to a peace agreement with England, he gives weight to his words by emphasizing that they are made of breath. In his recollection that breath enables words to be sounded and promises to be kept, Philip presents his vocal expression as, at once, a physical and a spiritual act. As Philip's lines invoke the notion that speech is breath, they suggest a tension between Philip's thematization of speech (breath being a metaphor for voice) and his performance of speech (breath being the physical substance that enables the actor playing Philip to be heard).
ACCESSION #
18456243

 

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