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Re-viewing/ Anatomising corpus and corpses. ‘I am not shaped for sportive tricks / … rudely stamped … curtailed of this fair proportion,/ Cheated of feature .../ Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time / Into this breathing world

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‘I am not shaped for sportive tricks / … rudely stamped … curtailed of this fair proportion,/

Cheated of feature .../ Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time / Into this breathing world

scarce half made up… ‘ ; ‘elvish-marked, abortive rooting hog… rag of honour … bottled spider…poisonous bunch-backed toad’ (Richard on Richard; Margaret on Richard, Richard III)


Body Consciousness …

  • The ideal body
  • The iconic body
  • The physical body
  • The performative body

Sleeping within my orchard,

My custom always in the afternoon,

Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole

With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,

And in the porches of mine ears did pour

The leperous distilment, whose effect

Holds such an enmity with blood of man

That swift as quicksilver it courses through

The natural gates and alleys of the body,

And with a sudden vigour it doth posset

And curd, like eager droppings into milk,

The thin and wholesome blood. So did it mine;

And a most instant tetter barked about,

Most lazar-like with vile and loathsome crust,

All my smooth body. (Hamlet, 1.5.59-73)


Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother’s hand

Of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched,

Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,

Unhouseled, dis-appointed, unaneled,

No reck’ning made, but sent to my account

With all my imperfections on my head.

O horrible, O horrible, most horrible! (Hamlet, 1.5.74-80)


Hal: These lies are like their father that begets them – gross as a mountain, open palpable. Why, thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson obscene greasy tallow-catch…This sanguine coward, this bed-presser, this horse-back-breaker, this huge hill of flesh –

Falstaff: ’Sblood, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried neat’s tongue, you bull’s pizzle, you stock-fish – O, for breath to utter what is like thee! – you tailor’s yard, you sheath, you bowcase, you vile standing tuck –

(1Henry IV, 2.5.208-11,223-29)


Lucius: Ah, that this sight should make so deep a wound

And yet detested life not shrink thereat –

That ever death should let life bear his name

Where life hath no more interest but to breathe! [Lavinia kisses Titus]

Marcus: Alas, poor heart, that kiss is comfortless

As frozen water to a starved snake.

Titus: When will this fearful slumber have an end?

Marcus: Now farewell flatt’ry. Die, Andronicus.

Thou dost not slumber. See thy two sons’ heads,

Thy warlike hand, thy mangled daughter here,

Thy other banished son with this dear sight

Struck pale and bloodless, and thy brother, I,

Even like a stony image, cold and numb.

Ah, now no more will I control thy griefs.

Rend off thy silver hair, thy other hand

Gnawing with thy teeth, and be this dismal sight

The closing up of our most wretched eyes.

Now is the time to storm. Why art thou still?

Titus: Ha, ha, ha. (Titus Andronicus, 3.1.245-263)


[accusation: ‘bewitched the bosom … stol’n the impression of her fantasy … filched my daughter’s heart’]

Theseus: What say you, Hermia? Be advised, fair maid:

To you your father should be as a god,

One that composed your beauties, yea, and one

To whom you are but as a form in wax,

By him imprinted, and within his power

To leave the figure or disfigure it.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream 1.1.46-51


Lord: Sirrah, go you to Barthol’mew my page

And see him dressed in all suits like a lady.

That done, conduct him to the drunkard’s chamber

And call him ‘madam’, do him obeisance.

Tell him from me, as he will win my love,

He bear himself with honourable action

Such as he hath observed in noble ladies

Unto their lords by them accomplished.

Such duty to the drunkard let him do

With soft low tongue and lowly courtesy,

And say ‘What is’t your honour will command

Wherein your lady and your humble wife

May show her duty and make known her love?’ …

I know the boy will well usurp the grace,

Voice, gait, and action of a gentlewoman.

(The Taming of the Shrew, Induction 2, 101-128)


[Ulysses: May I, sweet lady, beg a kiss of you?

Cressida: You may.

Ulysses: I do desire it.

Cressida: Why, beg too.

Ulysses: Why then, for Venus’s sake, give me a kiss / When Helen is a maid again, and his –

Cressida: I am your debtor; claim it when tis due.

Ulysses: Never’s my day, and then a kiss of you.

Diomedes: Lady, a word. I’ll bring you to your father.]

Nestor: A woman of quick sense.

Ulysses: Fie, fie upon her!

There’s language in her eye, her cheek, her lip,

Nay, her foot speaks. Her wanton spirits look out

At every joint and motive of her body.

O, these encounterers so glib of tongue,

That give accosting welcome ere it comes,

And wide unclasp the tables of their thoughts

To every ticklish reader, set them down

For sluttish spoils of opportunity

And daughters of the game.

Troilus and Cressida 4.6.48-64


Achilles: Thou! Now Hector, I have fed mine eyes on thee.

I have with exact view perused thee, Hector,

And quoted joint by joint.

Hector: Is this Achilles?

Achilles: I am Achilles.

Hector: Stand fair, I pray thee, let me look on thee.

Achilles: Behold thy fill.

Hector: Nay, I have done already.

Achilles: Thou art too brief. I will the second time

As I would buy thee, view thee limb by limb.

Hector: O, like a book of sport thou’lt read me o’er.

But there’s more in me than thou understand’st.

Why dost thou so oppress me with thine eye?

Achilles: Tell me, you heavens, in which part of his body

Shall I destroy him – whether there, or there, or there –

That I may give the local wound a name,

And make distinct the very breach whereout

Hector’s great spirit flew?


CRESSIDA Here, Diomed, keep this sleeve.

  • TROILUS O beauty! where is thy faith?
  • ULYSSES My lord,–
  • TROILUS I will be patient; outwardly I will.
  • CRESSIDA You look upon that sleeve; behold it well.He loved me–O false wench!–Give't me again.
  • DIOMEDES Whose was't?
  • CRESSIDA It is no matter, now I have't again.I will not meet with you to-morrow night:I prithee, Diomed, visit me no more.
  • THERSITES Now she sharpens: well said, whetstone!
  • DIOMEDES I shall have it.
  • CRESSIDA What, this?
  • DIOMEDES Ay, that.
  • CRESSIDA O, all you gods! O pretty, pretty pledge!Thy master now lies thinking in his bedOf thee and me, and sighs, and takes my glove,And gives memorial dainty kisses to it,As I kiss thee. Nay, do not snatch it from me;He that takes that doth take my heart withal.
  • DIOMEDES I had your heart before, this follows it.
  • TROILUS I did swear patience.
  • CRESSIDA You shall not have it, Diomed; faith, you shall not;I'll give you something else.
  • DIOMEDES I will have this: whose was it?
  • CRESSIDA It is no matter.
  • DIOMEDES Come, tell me whose it was.
  • CRESSIDA 'Twas one's that loved me better than you will.But, now you have it, take it.

CRESSIDA Good night: I prithee, come. [Exit DIOMEDES]

Troilus, farewell! one eye yet looks on theeBut with my heart the other eye doth see.Ah, poor our sex! this fault in us I find,The error of our eye directs our mind:What error leads must err; O, then concludeMinds sway'd by eyes are full of turpitude. [Exit]

THERSITES A proof of strength she could not publish more,Unless she said ' My mind is now turn'd whore.'


Troilus: What offends you, lady?

Cressida: Sir, mine own company.

Troilus: You cannot shun yourself.

Cressida: Let me go and try.

I have a kind of self resides with you –

But an unkind self, that itself will leave

To be another’s fool. Where is my wit?

I would be gone. I speak I know not what.

(Troilus and Cressida, 3.2.131-38)