Date of Award
Dr. Catherine Loomis
Dr. Shelby Richardson
Dr. Lisa Verner
Since classical times, the witch has remained an eerie, powerful and foreboding figure in literature and drama. Often beautiful and alluring, like Circe, and just as often terrifying and aged, like Shakespeare’s Wyrd Sisters, the witch lives ever just outside the margins of polite society. In John Marston’s Sophonisba, or The Wonder of Women the witch’s ability to persuade through the use of language is Marston’s commentary on the power of poetry, theater and women’s speech in early modern Britain. Erichtho is the ultimate example of a terrifying woman who uses linguistic persuasion to change the course of nations. Throughout the play, the use of speech draws reader’s attention to the role of the mouth as an orifice of persuasion and to the power of speech. It is through Erichtho’s mouth that Marston truly highlights the power of subversive speech and the effects it has on its intended audience.
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DeVoe, Lauren E., "Erichtho’s Mouth: Persuasive Speaking, Sexuality and Magic" (2015). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 2020.
Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity Commons, Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture Commons, Classical Literature and Philology Commons, Comparative Literature Commons, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Commons, Literature in English, British Isles Commons