“The Stamp of Martius”: Commoditized Character and the Technology of Theatrical Impression in Coriolanus

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Abstract

Dominated by a killing machine that stamps and is stamped with wounds, "Coriolanus" provokes questions about what makes a character ‘impressive’ in early modern theatre. While Coriolanus’ machine-like qualities, the semiotics of his wounds, and the play’s metatheatricality have received scholarly attention, this article re-assesses these ideas by focusing on the tragedy’s technological language of impression, which invokes seals, coins, medals and printed texts. Considering the role of the imprint in early modern ideas about performance, psycho-physiology and ‘character’, I argue that the concept of impression is integral to the play’s self-reflection on the commoditized human transactions of commercial theatre.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-80
Number of pages30
JournalRenaissance Drama
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

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