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Domestic Life and Domestic Tragedy in Early Modern EnglandThe Material Life of the Household$
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Catherine Richardson

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780719065446

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719065446.001.0001

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(p.193) Conclusion
Domestic Life and Domestic Tragedy in Early Modern England

Jonathan Atkin

Manchester University Press

Henry Hitch Adams argued that the realism of domestic tragedies ‘made the moral lesson effective by illustrating, directly in terms of the experiences of the audience, the punishments for sin’. This book has been an attempt to unpick the ways in which that realism might have engaged the experiences of the plays' first audiences, through a reconstruction of attitudes towards house and household and an extended consideration of staging practices. Throughout these plays, the progression of property and family values that smoothes the disjunctures of death is pointedly interrupted. Domestic space is violated by individuals who cannot relinquish their own physical purchase on what they see around them in favour of guaranteeing a future for their families. The book has argued for the materiality of a contemporary understanding of the domestic, and for the sensory qualities of memories of the household. In domestic tragedies, objects reflect more than status.

Keywords:   plays, domestic tragedies, house, household, property, family, domestic space, materiality

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