|Shakespeare's doctors: Limitations and contributions of physicians inShakespeare's plays
|[Ph.D. dissertation]. United States -- New Jersey: Drew University; 2006. Publication Number: AAT 3244447. - 123 p.
The literary function of the seven medical doctors introduced in Shakespeare's
plays is founded initially on their ability to represent science and logic.
When these doctors fail to provide the knowledge they are expected to possess,
their profession is disparaged. The single characterization of doctor as
competent or incompetent, however, becomes increasingly multi-dimensional when
read within the full thematic context of their plays. An understanding of a
Shakespearean physician-character's historic counterparts lends itself to
tracing how Shakespeare manipulates the construct of "doctor" to achieve
meaning in his plays and formulates the physician as inevitably limited.
Despite their limitation in curing patients, Shakespeare clearly dictated that
the limited physician-character is capable, in fact, of being honorable and
just only if they embrace their human boundaries and honestly except the flaws
of Renaissance medicine. This was not a common approach to the portrayal of a
doctor on the Renaissance stage, and Shakespeare clearly sets most of his
doctors apart from the stereotypes in circulation at the time.
Through an examination of the myriad doctor-characters and pseudo doctor-
characters in Hamlet, All's Well That Ends Well, Macbeth, The Merry Wives of
Windsor, Cymbeline, and Pericles it becomes clear that Shakespeare's frustrated
respect for doctors aims to create a model for what a good doctor should be---
a model that is still applicable today.
TOMAZEWSKI, Lisa A
Méd. temps modernes : médecine et arts