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Shakespeare’s 74 death scenes in a single play more gory than Game of Thrones

31 December 2015

From The Telegraph:

There may have been five “droppers” – a theatrical term for fainting audience members – overcome by the fake bloodshed at Titus Andronicus at The Globe last year, but one new play is promising considerably more than the nine brutal on-stage deaths in Shakespeare’s first tragedy.

The Complete Deaths will detail all of the Bard’s 74 scripted deaths in one play, from early rapier thrusts to the more elaborate viper-breast-application adopted by Cleopatra. The total makes Shakespeare’s complete works more gory than notorious HBO TV show Game of Thrones, which has scripted 61 deaths in 50 episodes, including the controversial burning of a child at the stake.

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Over the past four centuries, the brutality of Shakespeare’s plays has become the subject of endless academic study, but his contemporary critics didn’t approve of the on-stage gore. Michael Dobson,  director of the Shakespeare Institute, said that Elizabethan drama was known for being gruesome: “The English drama was notorious for on-stage deaths; they were thought crass. For neo-classical critics, deaths should be off-stage.”

Link to the rest at The Telegraph

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6 Comments to “Shakespeare’s 74 death scenes in a single play more gory than Game of Thrones”

  1. Being baked into a pie… now that’s a way to go.

  2. He knew what his audiences wanted – and included Schadenfreude long before the term was invented – many of those deceased had it coming to them.

    We are a violent race; theater is a safe way to indulge this, and get actual resolution.

  3. Could be worse: could be all of Agatha Christie’s deaths by poison performed on stage. Or keeping up with all the tenure-track positions that opened up at Oxford while Inspector Morse was working.

  4. Some of the wedges of the pie are missing labels. Cause of Death UNKNOWN???

    (Anyone comparing Shakespeare to the indescribably awful Game of Thrones needs to be beheaded, baked in a pie, bitten by snakes, and then beheaded again.)

    • Hopefully at least one of the missing slices is eaten by a bear. That’s still my favorite stage direction.

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