Year: 1992 Source: PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, v.107, no.3, (May 1992), p.554-565 SIEC No: 20010410

Nicole Loraux (1989) observed that female characters in Greek tragedy most often die from neck wounds. Using Loraux’s study as a point of departure, Helms examines the modes of death of Shakespeare’s Lavinia & Cleopatra, along with Heywood’s Lucrece & Marston’s Sophonisba. Interweaving classical narratives of sacrifice & suicide with a phenomenology of their performance, these cultural tales of gendered violence are considered as they enter & pass between the popular & elite traditions. The encounter between ancient ways of killing a woman & the contingencies of Shakespearean performance is also explored. (77 refs.)