‘See How the Blood is Settled in his Face’: Shakespeare’s Warwick – Fiction’s First Pathologist

Andrea Smith

Abstract


The twenty-first century television detective drama often relies heavily on the forensic pathologist; analysing what they see and reaching a conclusion about the manner of death, not just the cause. This might include determining that a case that initially looks like natural causes is in fact murder. While this may involve toxicology reports and other modern methods of investigation, it might also include the state of the body; things like post-mortem lividity or marks such as scratches, or a lack of them. Using these sorts of indicators is not new; in fact Shakespeare was writing about them in the late sixteenth century in 2 Henry VI. In it, the Earl of Warwick describes the state of the body of the Duke of Gloucester who has reportedly died in his bed. Over the course of around twenty lines Warwick gives a detailed catalogue of the state of the body and why each sign indicates a violent, rather than peaceful, death. This paper looks at that description and relates it to other descriptions of murder victims in drama at the time, as well as to those investigated by twenty-first century television pathologists.


Keywords


Early Modern Drama; Theatre; Television; Pathology

Full Text:

PDF

References


Anonymous, Arden of Faversham, ed. by David Bevington, Lars Engle, Katharine Eisaman Maus and Eric Rasmussen, in English Renaissance Drama (London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2002), 427–481

Anonymous, Thomas of Woodstock, ed. by A. P. Rossiter, in Woodstock: A Moral History (London: Chatto & Windus, 1946), 79–169

Bayley, Harold, The Shakespeare Symphony (London: Chapman & Hall, 1906)

Bevington, David, ‘Arden of Faversham’ (introduction), in English Renaissance Drama, ed. by David Bevington, Lars Engle, Katharine Eisaman Maus and Eric Rasmussen (London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2002), 421–426

Bevington, David, ‘The Spanish Tragedy’ (introduction), in English Renaissance Drama, ed. by David Bevington, Lars Engle, Katharine Eisaman Maus and Eric Rasmussen (London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2002), 3–7

Cala, A., C. L. Lawrence and J. Duflou, ‘When is post mortem lividity fixed?’, Pathology, 27.1 (1995), p. A8 <https://doi.org/10.1016/S0031-3025(16)35368-5>

Chesney, J. Portman, Shakespeare as a Physician: Comprising Every Word which in Any Way Relates to Medicine, Surgery Or Obstetrics, Found in the Complete Works of that Writer, with Criticisms and Comparison of the Same with the Medical Thoughts of To-day (Chicago, Ill./St Louis, Mo/Atlanta, Ga: J. H. Chambers & Co., 1884)

Endeavour: Complete Series Four, dir. Ashley Pearce and others (Mammoth Screen 2017) [on DVD]

Endeavour: Complete Series Five, dir. Brady Hood and others (Mammoth Screen 2017) [on DVD]

Field, B. Rush, Medical Thoughts of Shakespeare (Easton: Andrews & Clifton, 1885)

Grene, Nicholas, Shakespeare’s Serial History Plays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Hall, Edward, Hall’s Chronicle; Containing the History of England, During the Reign of Henry the Fourth, and the Succeeding Monarchs, to the End of the Reign of Henry the Eighth (London: J. Johnson et al., 1809)

Harkup, Kathryn, A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie (London: Bloomsbury, 2015)

Hicks, Michael, Warwick the Kingmaker (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998)

Hoeniger, F. David, Medicine and Shakespeare in the English Renaissance (London: Associated University Presses, 1992)

Holinshed, Raphael, Holinshed’s Chronicle as Used in Shakespeare’s Plays, ed. by Allardyce Nicoll and Josephine Nicoll (London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1927; repr. 1965)

Howard, Jean E., ‘The First Part of the Contention of the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster’ (introduction), in The Norton Shakespeare, 2nd edn, ed. by Stephen Greenblatt, Walter Cohen, Jean E. Howard and Katharine Eisaman Maus (London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2008), 229–237

Kaspar, Wendi Arant, ‘Forensic Mysteries’, in Salem Press Encyclopedia of Literature (Salem Press, 2019) <https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=125599134&site=eds-live&scope=site> <https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=125599134&site=eds-live&scope=site>> [accessed 12 December 2019]

Kyd, Thomas, The Spanish Tragedy, or Hieronimo is Mad Again, ed. by David Bevington, Lars Engle, Katharine Eisaman Maus and Eric Rasmussen, in English Renaissance Drama (London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2002), 8–73

Lupton, Thomas, A Thousand Notable Things of Sundrie Sorts (London: N. Fosbrooke, 1627)

Maskew, Helen Patricia, ‘Shakespeare and the Earl of Warwick: The Kingmaker in the Henry VI Trilogy’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Birmingham, 2009)

Meyers, Jeffrey, Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy (New York: Cooper Square Press, 2000)

Norwich, John Julius, Shakespeare’s Kings (London: Penguin Books, 2000)

Poe, Edgar Allan, ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’, Graham’s Magazine, 18 (April 1841), 166–79 (repr. in The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Stories (London: Vintage, 2010), 473–505)

Rossiter, A. P., ‘Preface’, in Woodstock: A Moral History, ed. by A. P. Rossiter (London: Chatto & Windus, 1946), 1–76

Saunders, Claire, ‘“Dead in His Bed”: Shakespeare’s Staging of the Death of the Duke of Gloucester in 2 Henry VI’, The Review of English Studies, 36.141 (1985), 19–34 <https://doi.org/10.1093/res/XXXVI.141.19>

Shakespeare, William, The First Part of the Contention Betwixt the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster [Henry VI, Part 2], ed. by Stephen Greenblatt, Walter Cohen, Jean E. Howard and Katharine Eisaman Maus, in The Norton Shakespeare, 2nd edn (London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2008), 240–316

Thomas, Peter, ‘Poe’s Dupin and the Power of Detection’, in The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe, ed. by Kevin J. Hayes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 133–147

Turnbull, Sue, The TV Crime Drama, TV Genres Series (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014)

Turner, Jim, ‘Have You Been Fooled by Forensics on TV?’, BBC Ideas, 26 July 2019 (produced by Angel Sharp Media) <https://www.bbc.com/ideas/videos/have-you-been-fooled-by-forensics-on-tv/p07hy9pf> <https://www.bbc.com/ideas/videos/have> [accessed 30 July 2019]

Van Leer, David, ‘Detecting Truth: The World of the Dupin Tales’, in New Essays of Poe's Major Tales, ed. by Kenneth Silverman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 65–92




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24134/be.v4i1.203

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2020 Andrea Smith

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.